Residents living in Inyo, Mono, and San Bernardino counties interested in a fire prevention program email

Friday, December 30, 2011


The CAL FIRE San Bernardnio Unit wants to wish everyone a safe and successful 2012.

We also want to ask you to resolve to make fire safety a year long activity. In your home, around your home, in the wildland or the forests, "turn fire safety awareness into fire safety readiness".

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Is Your Fireplace SAFE!!

It has been there since the house was built. It is a part of our home life, providing comfort and warmth. It is our fireplace. But, is it safe? Over the years of burning in the fireplace, creosote can build up and cause a fire. According to the United States Fire Administration “Heating fires account for 36% of residential home fires in rural areas every year. Often these fires are due to creosote buildup in chimneys and stovepipes. All home heating systems require regular maintenance to function safely and efficiently.”

Twenty years ago in November of 1991, a magnificent home originally built by Hollywood agent Myron Selznick, brother of famed director David O. Selznick burned to the ground. Located in Running Springs, the 18 bedroom 14 bathroom mansion which overlooked the San Bernardino valley was destroyed when a fireplace fire vented into the flooring and ignited the blaze. Fire investigators determined that over the years the mortar used to build the fireplace had deteriorated and allowed the intense heat into the ceiling area. This heat buildup eventually ignited the wood. Why talk about this? Because it is not only creosote that can cause a fire. In California, the land moves from time to time. These small shakes while not destructive on the outside can be doing damage on the inside.

The point is to make sure that your fire place and chimney are safe and clean. CAL FIRE and the United States Fire Safety Administration offer these fireplace safety suggestions;

  • Have your chimney or wood stove inspected and cleaned annually by a certified chimney specialist.
  • Clear the area around the hearth of debris, decorations and flammable materials.
  • Leave glass doors open while burning a fire. Leaving the doors open ensures that the fire receives enough air to ensure complete combustion and keeps creosote from building up in the chimney.
  • Close glass doors when the fire is out to keep air from the chimney opening from getting into the room. Most glass fireplace doors have a metal mesh screen which should be closed when the glass doors are open. This mesh screen helps keep embers from getting out of the fireplace area.
  • Always use a metal mesh screen with fireplaces that do not have a glass fireplace door.
  • Install stovepipe thermometers to help monitor flue temperatures.
  • Keep air inlets on wood stoves open, and never restrict air supply to fireplaces. Otherwise you may cause creosote buildup that could lead to a chimney fire.
  • Use fire-resistant materials on walls around wood stoves.

  • Never use flammable liquids to start a fire.
  • Use only seasoned hardwood. Soft, moist wood accelerates creosote buildup.
  • Build small fires that burn completely and produce less smoke.
  • Never burn cardboard boxes, trash or debris in your fireplace or wood stove.
  • When building a fire, place logs at the rear of the fireplace on an adequate supporting grate.
  • Never leave a fire in the fireplace unattended. Extinguish the fire before going to bed or leaving the house.
  • Soak hot ashes in water and place them in a metal container outside your home.

On this last suggestion regarding the ashes from the fire place, the importance of this was manifested on Christmas Day in a fire in Stamford, Connecticut where five people died. Fire officials there say that the fire was caused by embers from the ashes of the fireplace that had been cleaned out. Fire officials were not certain if the ashes had been placed in a mud room attached to the house or a trash enclosure next to the home.

CAL FIRE Unit Chief Tim McClelland says “while many people enjoy the warmth of a fireplace fire, it is important to remember that fire is always a danger and people need to be fire safe, first and always.” For more fireplace and chimney safety information go to

CAL FIRE and your local fire department want to wish you a SAFE and HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Annual CAL FIRE San Bernardino Unit Christmas Party

This was a night of reuniting with the current and retired BDU staff and their families...

Delicious family-recipes exchanged at the potluck, raffle, and photos with Santa.

This year the UNIT went an extra step; a huge portion of the raffle money was put towards helping four needy families in the local area around the San Bernardino Headquarters. We were able to provide gifts to 15 children and each of the four families a board game for family fun time. Two of the families were at risk of going without a nice warm meal on Christmas night, but we were able to make sure that was not the case...

We would like to give a special thanks to all those who helped make the above possible!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Firefighters, Spark of Love, KFRG Radio and Angel Cars collect toys for Christmas

CAL FIRE, the ABC7 Firefighters Spark of Love campaign, the Angel Cars from Fueled by the Fallen and KFRG Radio combined their efforts to collect toys for less advantaged children in the cities of Highland and Yucaipa. The events were held on Saturday, December 17th.

The day began at 9:00 to 11:00 A.M. on the grounds of Immanuel Baptist Church in Highland, California. The donated toys were given to the Highland Police Department (San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department) who already had a toy program in place. It was an honor to collect toys for their program. CAL FIRE and the ABC7 Firefighters Spark of Love program are deeply appreciative of Immanuel Baptist Church's support of the community and the Police and Fire Departments.

In the afternoon, the focus switched to the City of Yucaipa where the Firefighters in Yucaipa joined with the ABC7 Firefighters Spark of Love program and the Angel Cars to collect toys for the less advantaged children in that community. AJ Bariles Chicago Pizza stepped up to provide the event location. Located on Yucaipa boulevard, there were visitors throughout the event which ran from 2:00 to 4:00 P.M.

Everyone who saw the Angel Cars in Highland and Yucaipa said that they were a magnificent disply and remembrance of the victims who were killed on the first day of the War on Terror, September 11, 2001. When you see these beautiful cars lined up in a row, it create a very solemn wall of remembrance and sacrifice.

You can see more photos from the two events at our Flickr site.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Don’t let candles destroy your holidays!

The Christmas tree is set up and decorated, you’ve checked the lights and they are all safe. And now, we have put out those wonderful smelling holiday candles all over the house. The CAL FIRE San Bernardino Unit wants to remind you to be very safe about using those candles. They can quickly transition from joy to tragedy if you are not careful. According to the U. S. Fire Administration, the majority of candle fires result from human error and negligence. On average 42 home candle fires are reported across the nation every day. That means that more than 15,000 homes in the United States will be damaged every year from a candle caused fire. More importantly, is the human tragedy, with an estimated 166 people killed and over 1,200 people injured from these fires. CAL FIRE San Bernardino Unit Chief Tim McClelland says “candles can be very dangerous and you need to be extra careful when using them.”

The U. S. Fire Administration reports that 55% of candle fires begin because the candle is placed too close to an ignition source such as paper or cloth. Twenty percent (20%) of candle fires begin when candles are left unattended or abandoned. Most importantly, one half of all candle related fire deaths occur between midnight and 6:00 A.M.

The CAL FIRE San Bernardino Unit and the U. S. Fire Administration has these safety tips for enjoying your holiday candles;
· If possible, avoid using lighted candles.
· If you must use candles, ensure that they are placed in sturdy holders.
· Keep candles away from children and pets.
· Be sure to extinguish candles after each use.
· Never leave burning candles unattended.
· Never put burning candles on or near your Christmas tree.

For more Holiday safety tips you can call your local fire department or visit CAL FIRE on the web at

Monday, December 12, 2011

Wind Caused Burn Suspension Lifted

Officials from the San Bernardino Unit of Cal Fire have lifted the wind caused burn suspension effective 6:00 A.M. today Monday, December 12, 2011. Fire Prevention Battalion Chief Preston Fouts says “burning will be allowed until weather conditions require the burn suspension to be reinstituted.” According to Chief Fouts, each request for a burn permit will be accompanied with a physical inspection of the property. There will also be special instructions placed on the permits such as; extra clearing, making sure that there is a charged water source immediately available and tools are at hand. “While rain is predicted, fire conditions remain difficult. We want to allow residents in those areas that are able to burn to do so. With the personal inspections prior to the issuance of the burn permit and cooperating weather, we feel confident that with the property owners as partners in prevention with Cal Fire, we can reduce some of the current fire potential” said Unit Chief Tim McClelland.

It is important to realize that the moisture levels in the wildland vegetation remain dangerously low. “It continues to be important for homeowners to harden their properties against the potential of wildland fires” said Chief McClelland. Property owners need to maintain the 100 foot clearance (or to the property line). To find out more about how to comply with the fire clearance laws or to find out ways to harden your home against wildfire, you can contact your local fire department, CAL FIRE or go to the CAL FIRE web site at or .

Spark of Love Events in Highland and Yucaipa

Firefighters in the cities of Highland and Yucaipa are joining together with the ABC7 Firefighters Spark of Love Christmas Toy campaign, KFRG FM radio and the Angel cars from Fueled by the Fallen to collect toys for less advantaged children. This is the 19th year of the Spark of Love Christmas toy campaign which collects toys for the less advantaged children of southern California. With Spark of Love, the toys collected remain in the community where they were donated.

The five “Angel” cars were created by Fueled by the Fallen which was founded by Kevyn Major Howard, known as “Rafterman” from Stanley Kubrick’s blockbuster film Full Metal Jacket. In 2007 Kevyn said “I was watching the nightly news as they announced that 12 died this day and 7 that day”, Kevyn said. “I woke up one morning and challenged myself to name just one person who has died for my freedom”, he continued. “I couldn’t.” So Kevyn decided to do something about it. He started Fueled By The Fallen, a 501(c)3 non-profit. To honor the fallen victims of the September 11, 2001 attacks, Fueled by the Fallen created the “Angel” cars. At first glance, the five Chevy Camaros lined along a street look like a muscle car show, but a closer look shows the cars are strong support for the families of 9/11 victims. "Inscribed onto these cars are those that fell on that particular day," Kevyn Major Howard, founder of the "Fueled by the Fallen” organization, said. Howard and his organization placed the names of each victim of 9/11 on the five cars to remember those that died and the sacrifices their families have made since the attack ten years ago.

Both events will be held this Saturday, December 17, 2011. The first event is located in the City of Highland at Immanuel Baptist Church, 28355 East Baseline. KFRG FM radio a Spark of Love supporter from the very beginning will be doing a live remote during the event which runs from 9:00 to 11:00 A.M. Immanuel Baptist Church is easy to find and very accessible from either the 5th street off ramp or the Baseline off ramp of the 210 Freeway. Get off on either and go east to Webster. From 5th street turn north and from Baseline turn south.

The Yucaipa City Spark of Love event will be held at AJ Barile’s Chicago Pizza from 2:00 to 4:00 P.M. Located at 32693 Yucaipa Avenue, the Chicago Pizza Factory is right across the street from the Crafton Hills Fire Station and is very easy to find.

While toys of all kinds are truly appreciated, please think about the older children and young teens as well and Please remember to be fire safe during the holidays.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Burn Suspension Lifted in Inyo and Mono Counties

Officials from the San Bernardino Unit of Cal Fire have lifted the special burn suspension in Inyo and Mono counties effective 6:00 A.M. today Wednesday, December 7, 2011. Fire Prevention Battalion Chief Preston Fouts says “burning will once again be allowed until weather conditions require the burn suspension to be re instituted.” According to Chief Fouts, each request for a burn permit will be accompanied with a physical inspection of the property. There will also be special instructions placed on the permits such as; extra clearing, making sure that there is a charged water source immediately available and tools are at hand. “While there is always the possibility of wildland fire, we want to allow residents in those areas that are able to burn to do so and thereby reduce any dead cut and piled vegetation that can become a fire hazard in itself. With the personal inspections prior to the issuance of the burn permit and cooperating weather, we feel confident that with the property owners as partners in prevention with CAL FIRE, we can reduce some of the current fire potential” said Unit Chief Tim McClelland.

The special restrictions that remain in Inyo and Mono Counties regarding opening fires include:
1. Use of campfires is restricted to within established campfire facilities located in established campgrounds open to the public.
2. Cooking fires with a valid permit are permissive when no alternate means of cooking is available and requires an on-site inspection prior to the issuance of a permit.
3. Warming fires with a valid permit are permissive and require an on-site inspection prior to the issuance of a permit when weather conditions exist to justify the request.
4. Burn permits issued to property owners for their parcels will have been inspected to ensure adequate clearance and prevention guidelines to reduce the risk of uncontrolled fires.
5. Project burn permits will continue to be reviewed as set forth by the Unit and local CAL FIRE Chief Officer in that area.

It is important for every property owner to maintain their 100 foot clearance (or to the property line) of their properties. To find out more about how to fire safe your homes and property you can contact your local fire department, Cal Fire or go to the Cal Fire web site at or

Friday, December 2, 2011

CAL FIRE Crews assist San Bernardino City

CAL FIRE crews have been working in a variety of locations in the City of San Bernardino assisting with the storm clean up. Three crews from the CAL FIRE Fenner Conservation Camp are working to help get as much of the storm damage cleaned up as possible. The hurricane winds that blew through the area Wednesday night into Thursday morning blew debris everywhere, broke off tree branches, knocked full grown trees down and in a few instances, these mature trees caused additional damage to cars and other property.

Working with an agreement with the San Bernardino City Parks Department, the crews have been moving about the city cutting up downed trees and helping to pick up debris along the streets and rights of way. It is undetermined at this point how many days the crews will be assisting in the city.

CAL FIRE along with other fire agencies continue their storm preparedness of staffing additional state wildland fire engines, dozers, fire crews, and aircraft. These state resources will be positioned throughout the state to allow for rapid response into communities and watershed areas that may be affected by a fast moving wildfire.

Residents are encouraged to exercise extreme caution when in or near the wildland or open areas to prevent a fire. It is important that everyone monitor the weather and be on the lookout for fires. If fires occur in the area be prepared to follow all instructions of fire and law enforcement officials if an evacuation is ordered. Winds of the forecasted velocity can cause conditions to change rapidly and the public is encouraged to review “Ready, Set, Go” procedures at

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Add Fire Safety to Your Christmas Preparations

Even though we are still clearing away the leftovers from Thanksgiving, the Christmas season is underway. The stores are having their sales, the festive lights are going up around the neighborhood, and families are shopping for their Christmas tree.

If you are decorating your home with lights, the CAL FIRE San Bernardino Unit and your local fire department reminds you that checking those light strands before putting them up could help to prevent a devastating fire. Make sure that all indoor and outdoor lighting and electrical decorations are approved for the use you have planned for them and that they are in good condition. If you find damaged wires or frayed ends, replace the entire set of lights. It’s much less expensive to replace a string of lights than your home. Underwriter Laboratories says “If you are buying Christmas lights for your home this year, look for energy-efficient LED lights that use 75 percent less energy and last years longer than an incandescent light string.”

CAL FIRE has these suggestions for your trip to the local Christmas tree lot. Test for freshness by gently tugging on the needles: If they readily come off in your hand, the tree is dry and you should look for a fresher one. At home, keep the tree away from heaters and drapes. Never place an open flame on or near the tree. Never leave the lights on while you are away or asleep. As a Christmas tree grows dryer over the weeks that it is in your home, it becomes increasingly easy for any significant heat source including large hot lights to ignite the tree. If you have young
children, keep an eye on them to make sure that they don’t accidentally set the tree on fire. A six foot cut Christmas tree can ignite and burn to a cinder in about 30 seconds. That is all the time necessary to begin a fire that can destroy your home and possibly result in death or injury for family members.

The CAL FIRE San Bernardino Unit and Underwriters Laboratories offer these additional Christmas Safety tips:

Water, water, water your tree.Dry trees pose a fire risk – make a fresh cut on the base before putting your tree into a sturdy stand, and water frequently.

Check your lights, check them twice.Inspect all of your electric lights and decorations for damage or wear. Cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires and loose connections may pose a fire or shock hazard.

Plan your fire escape.Use the holidays as a good time to practice a fire escape plan with your loved ones. Identify at least two exits from every room in the house.

Sleep safe: Install carbon monoxide alarms.Remember, it’s the law in California that each home has Carbon Monoxide Alarms. Additionally, be sure that at least one carbon monoxide alarm is installed on each floor of your home, and always close to sleeping areas.

Be flame aware.Always blow out unattended candles and teach your children to stay away from lit candles or fireplaces.

Give wrapping paper a second life.Don’t burn used wrapping paper as it may cause intense flash fires. And throwing it out adds waste. Consider recycling or repurposing it instead.

Know your lights and cords.Do not connect more than three miniature light strings together. Also, be sure to check the rating on your extension cords and do not plug in more than the recommended wattage.

Steer your tree clear.Your tree should be positioned at least three feet away from fireplaces, radiators and other heat sources. It should also not block any doorways or exits.

Decorate with a safe eye. Cords should not be run under carpets or tacked-up with metal nails or staples. Small decorations can be choking hazards so keep them out of the reach of toddlers.
Look for UL.The UL Mark appears on products that have been tested for safety. Make sure to look for it to help keep your holidays safe and bright.

For additional safety ideas, visit; or

Additionally, remove the tree from the house the day after Christmas. And remember to recycle your Christmas tree. The CAL FIRE San Bernardino Unit wishes everyone a Fire Safe Holiday Season.

Cal Fire Suspends Burning Permits

CAL FIRE is suspending burning permits on ALL STATE RESPONSIBILITY LANDS WITHIN INYO, MONO and SAN BERNARDINO COUNTIES. This is being done because of the anticipated severe windy period being forecast for this week which when combined with the dry vegetation throughout the region creates a high potential for wildland fire. The burn suspension will be instituted beginning Wednesday, November 30, 2011 at 6:00 A.M. in accordance with Section 4423.1 of the California Public Resources Code. The suspension is effective except in incorporated cities. Additionally, the use of campfires is restricted to campfire facilities located within established campgrounds that are open to the public.
Tim McClelland, CAL FIRE San Bernardino Unit Chief says “the forecast possibility of unusually strong winds combined with the dry vegetation across the wildland areas of Southern California and the areas of Inyo and Mono counties increases the potential for fire ignitions. By taking this step, we hope to reduce the accidental fire starts that can threaten life and property within Inyo, Mono and San Bernardino Counties.”
Homeowner’s responsibility is the key to fire safety. Following the law and having their 100 feet of defensible space (or to the property line) is a great first step in making their homes and property fire resistive.
Once again, the Burning Permit Suspension is effective beginning Wednesday morning, November 30, 2011 at 6:00 A.M. and will remain in effect until the suspension is terminated by CAL FIRE.

Thursday, November 24, 2011


The men and women of the CAL FIRE San Bernardino Unit wishes everyone a happy and safe Thanksgiving holiday. As we move towards Christmas, we are always reminded of those, particularly children who might not have a Christmas. In this, CAL FIRE and the cities of Highland and Yucaipa are once again participating in the ABC7 Firefighter Spark of Love toy campaign. This is the 19th year of the program that collects toys for disadvantaged children throughout southern California. The toys collected stay in the communities where they are donated.

also helping the cause, the CAL FIRE San Bernardino Unit is partnering with "Fueled by the Fallen" to not only remember tnhose who gave their lives on September 11, 2001, but to showcase their beautiful vehicles.

Look for dates and times when CAL FIRE and Fueled by the Fallen will be available for you to see and drop of a toy for a disadvantaged child in your community.


Thursday, November 17, 2011

CAL FIRE moving to winter staffing levels

San Bernardino – The CAL FIRE San Bernardino Unit will transition to winter staffing levels beginning Monday, November 21, 2011. The recent rains, mild weather and cooler temperatures have combined to reduce the threat of wildland fires. This allows CAL FIRE to reduce resources from the peak staffing levels for the high fire hazard months of summer and fall.

Seasonal firefighter layoffs will be completed by Monday, November 21, 2011. One CAL FIRE engine will remain staffed and will be located in the Owens Valley. While the other San Bernardino Unit engines will be undergoing winter maintenance, they will be able to be quickly put into service if necessary. Helicopter 305 will be available on an as needed basis. Fire crews will continue to be able to respond to emergencies if needed throughout the winter months.

Not only is this time used for maintenance of equipment, fire engines, aircraft, but for firefighter training in preparation for the high fire hazard months of 2012. . “Our ability to expand or reduce staffing levels and equipment operations to correspond with the fire hazard threat allows CAL FIRE to operate more economically and efficiently” Said Unit Chief Tim McClelland.

CAL FIRE maintains 5,000 full time trained firefighters statewide with the ability to respond to all-risk situations year round. It is important to remember that the threat of wildland fire is not gone. Careless or intentional acts can still ignite a vegetation fire. Cal FIRE needs You to continue to be fire safe. Remember to observe all fire rules and regulations in whatever you do in the wildland. “Even a small vegetation fire can be dangerous and destructive” says Preston Fouts, CAL FIRE San Bernardino Unit Fire Prevention Battalion Chief.

CAL FIRE wants to commend the public for their increased awareness and participation in fire prevention and fire hazard reduction.

19th Annual Spark of Love Christmas Toy Drive Begins this Saturday, November 19th

The 19th annual ABC7 Firefighter Spark of Love Christmas Toy Drive officialy kicks off this Saturday November 19, 2011. The CAL FIRE San Bernardino Unit was one of the original founding members of this special event 19 years ago. After several years absence from Spark of Love, the San Bernardino Unit has returned and will be involved in the program at its fire stations in the cities if Yucaipa and Highland. For more information on the program and how you can be involved visit Spark of Love

Friday, November 11, 2011

Owens Valley Crews Continue Their Excellent Work

Friday, November 4, 2011

Change Your Clock Change Your Battery

The CAL FIRE San Bernardino Unit has a simple but powerful reminder for all members of our community this weekend. When you set your clocks back from daylight savings time, change and test the batteries in your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.

Twenty-three years ago, Energizer and the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) recognized a disturbing trend that many home fire fatalities were taking place in homes without working smoke alarms. The Change Your Clock Change Your Battery Program was developed to help reduce this number. Along with thousands of fire departments nationwide, Energizer and the IAFC have been reminding communities to check and change their smoke alarm batteries and make sure that their smoke alarms are working when they set their clocks. Additionally, it is recommended to replace your smoke alarms every 10 years and have a mix of both ionization and photo electric smoke alarms to alert you to all types of home fires.

Working smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in reported home structures in half. As a
30-year fire service veteran, I have witnessed first-hand the tragedy and devastation of home fires. It is even more heartbreaking when a young life is cut short. Thousands are injured and killed each year from home fires. When you take into account that residential fire deaths tend to peak in winter months, it’s critical to check and change the batteries in your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors this weekend.

Fire prevention is always one of the primary efforts for every fire department including the CAL FIRE San Bernardino Unit. Fire prevention works the best when the public is part of the prevention effort. This is a very simple way for your readers to become part of the fire prevention team. No one thinks that tragedy will strike them yet annual statistics prove that hundreds of lives could be saved or spared from injury if only a working smoke alarm had been in the home. Please take the simple step to protect your family by changing the batteries in your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors or installing new ones if necessary.


Chief Tim McClelland
CAL FIRE/San Bernardino Unit Chief

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Esperanza Fire Deaths Remembered

Five years ago this coming Wednesday, October 26, 2011 at about 7:30am, the Esperanza Fire killed five valiant firefighters. Taken from us that morning at the fire were the following United States Forest Service, San Bernardino National Forest personnel assigned to BDF Engine 57:

· Captain Mark Loutzenhiser, 43, Idyllwild, California
· Engineer Jess McLean, 27, Beaumont, California
· Assistant Engineer Jason McKay, 27, Apple Valley, California
· Firefighter Pablo Cerda, 23, Fountain Valley, California
· Firefighter Daniel Hoover-Najera, 20, San Jacinto, California

The fire created for many of us memories we will never forget. Some of the memories are positive and have further led to positive changes in how we do business or created a reflection on all the great work we all did at the Esperanza Fire. Some of the memories remain very difficult for others and will never be forgotten. For many, life will never be the same after the Esperanza Fire. We must respect our feelings; they are real. My heartfelt feelings of loss go out to the families of the lost firefighters and to the USFS family.

Monday, October 24, 2011

CAL FIRE Cares Enough to Wear Pink

So does the CAL FIRE San Bernardino Unit. Many of the firefighters working in the San Bernardino Unit are supporting this vital effort by wearing pink this week along with their fellow emergency service workers throughout San Bernardino County, California, and the Nation.

The Sacramento CAL FIRE Information Office says... Firefighting has long been a profession known for providing help to those in need. That’s why it wasn’t difficult for CAL FIRE’s firefighters, dispatchers and employees to decide to show their support for the battle against breast cancer by wearing modified CAL FIRE T-shirts with pink logos on them. October 24 - 28, 2011, CAL FIRE will join over 900 fire and police departments across the nation by participating in the 2011 national "Cares Enough to Wear Pink" campaign. The campaign raises awareness and money for cancer research and is part of October’s National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, when wearing pink signifies support for breast cancer research.

"Cancer affects millions of people worldwide including firefighters," said Chief Ken Pimlott, CAL FIRE director. There is a proven correlation between cancer and our profession, that’s why I’m proud the men and women of CAL FIRE are joining me in sending a strong message that we "Care Enough to Wear Pink."100 percent of the proceeds from the T-shirt sales generated by CAL FIRE’s employee's voluntary participation are being donated to cancer related non-profit organizations.

CAL FIRE is one of the largest fire departments in the nation and the over 7,000 men and women of our department have an opportunity to make a significant contribution to this worthwhile effort by voluntarily joining in on the "caring enough to wear pink" campaign. CAL FIRE is proud to help raise funds to find a cure and send a strong message of hope to those suffering from this disease.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Hot or Cold, Fire Safety Should Be Your First Concern

Weather forecasters are saying that this unseasonable weather will be leaving by the end of the week and we will return to our usual warm and dry fall weather. The rain and cool temperatures will reduce the possibility of wildland fire starts. However, as the vegetation dries out and the temperatures return to their seasonal norms the potential for wildland fires increases. When you add in the possibility of Santa Ana winds over the next couple of weeks, we need to keep our fire prevention guard up.

Something else that should increase our safety awareness is this bout of cold weather. As we turn on our household heaters and furnaces that have been off for a couple of months, be careful. Check the filters to make sure that they are clean and functional. Make sure that there are no gas leaks. DON’T use unapproved heaters, such as charcoal barbeques, kerosene heaters or any other type of heater that was intended for outdoor use. Along those lines, remember that these types of heaters give off carbon monoxide which can be deadly. Beginning July first of this year, single family homes are required by law to install carbon monoxide detectors.

Home fires, carbon monoxide poisoning, wildfires, all are possible during this time of year. Remember to turn fire awareness into fire readiness. October 9 through 15, 2011 is National Fire Prevention Week. Find out where an event is being held close to you and plan to attend. You can receive fire prevention and safety information and the children can have a fun time learning with you how to be fire safe.

Monday, October 3, 2011

California Wildland Firefighter Memorial Dedication

The final dedication ceremony for the California Wildland Firefighter Memorial is scheduled for Saturday, October 8, 2011 at 10:00 A.M. The Memorial has been a work in progress since 1995. It is located just west of Highway 74 (Ortega Highway) on South Main divide Road about eight miles west of Lake Elsinore. Event signs will be set up to aid in finding the event.

The California Wildland Firefighter Memorial (CFWM) is a tribute to firefighters that have paid the ultimate sacrifice fighting wildland fires in the State of California. Conception came about in 1995 when a group of retirees, fire survivors, CAL FIRE, and USDA Forest Service sought to repair and replace missing markers from the Decker Fire of 1959. This fire killed 6 firefighters within the Santa Ana Mountains above Lake Elsinore.

Presently the Memorial site consists of a circular area containing a red brick Maltese cross in the center with a rock wall behind in a semi-circle. Picnic benches and tables are placed around the perimeter with native plants integrated into the Memorial area. The serene tree filled area promotes the tranquility that inspires the Memorial and its purpose.

2011 Blue Mass for Public Safety

The 10th annual Blue Mass for Public Safety is being held on Thursday, October 13, 2011 at 6:30 P.M. at St. Catherine of Alexandria at 3680 Arlington Avenue in Riverside, California.

The event began back in 1934 in Baltimore, Maryland when a Catholic Priest named Thomas Dade initiated the Catholic Police and Firemen's Society. About 1,100 police and firemen attended the first Blue Mass on September, 29, 1934. The Blue Mass became an annual tradition in the northeastern cities of the United States. The Blue Mass began in San Bernardino, California in 2002 when the Most Reverend Gerald R. Barnes celebrated the event which drew more than 200 men and women in blue from the Inland empire.

Since it began, it has become part of the tradition to alternate the the Mass between San Bernardino and Riverside counties. Each year, a member of the Public Safety Community is recognized by the Diocese with the Chief Patrick G. Crowe Memorial Public Servant Award.

This is a non-denominational event and has become a collaborative effort between the Diocese of San Bernardino and Public Safety Agencies.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Fire Safety at Chick-fil-A

CAL FIRE firefighters and Smokey Bear were the guests at the Chick-fil-A family night on Tuesday, September 20, 2011. Located near the Ontario Mills Mall, the Chick-fil-A had requested members of the CAL FIRE San Bernardino Unit to present a fire safety program to residents of the community that had been invited to attend. The crowd was small but the children were eager to learn and meet Smokey. After learning about calling 9-1-1 for emergencies and how to Stop-Drop-Roll, and Cover if their clothes caught on fire, they were ready for the big moment. After learning Smokey Bear's fire prevention rules, the Big Bear made his appearance.

However, the evening was just getting started. After the program, the children and their parents were invited to go outside and get up close and personal with CAL FIRE engine 3559. The crew, Captain Rob Thompson and firefighters Rollofson and Vick answered questions and displayed equipment. The best moment for the kids came when they got to use a hard line fire hose to squirt water.

Santa Ana Wind Season Brings Heightened Fire Awareness

The extreme fire hazard that exists across San Bernardino County and the Inland Empire grows in potential with the arrival of the Santa Ana winds. The “Devil Winds” as they are known, race through Southern California primarily during the months of October through December. However, it is not unusual to experience Santa Ana winds as early as September or as late as February the next year.

Many of Southern California’s most disastrous fires have been driven by strong, dry Santa Ana winds. This includes the Panorama fire of November 1980 that destroyed 345 structures and killed four people, the 2003 Grand Prix and Old fires and the deadly Esparanza fire that killed five U.S. Forest Service firefighters.

CAL FIRE San Bernardino Unit Chief Tim McClelland says “fire safety needs to be on the mind of all the residents of San Bernardino County and the Inland Empire, especially those who live and recreate in the mountains and wildland areas”. Residents in the urban intermix and wildland areas need to maintain a fire safe clearance of a minimum of 100 feet around all structures or to the property line.” Even if you did your clearance in the spring, you should give the property a once over so that you have good defensible space around your structures. This defensible space provides firefighters the area they need in many instances to mount an effective defense of your home such as we witnessed during the recent Hill fire in the Oak Hills area of the High Desert. Fire officials credit the residents of the area for being proactive in keeping their properties clear and defendable.

According to weather experts, the Santa Ana wind cycle begins when high pressure from the northeast pushes the hot dry winds into Southern California. These winds can reach average speeds of 35 to 45 miles per hour but can accelerate to hurricane speeds such as the winds in 2007 that reached recorded gusts of 111 miles per hour. These wind speeds equate to a category two hurricane. The racing winds, dry weather, and low humidity combine to create a prescription for disaster. In 2003 the Santa Ana winds drove fires that destroyed nearly three quarters of a million acres across Southern California. Again in 2007, the winds drove flames across 426,000 acres.

Another reason that makes the Santa Ana winds so dangerous is their appeal to arsonists. The hot and dry vegetation beckons to the destructive tendencies of an arsonist like we saw in August of 2009 in the Oak Glen III fire which was arson caused and burned more than 1,000 acres and destroyed one residential structure. With this in mind Chief McClelland says “it is very important for residents everywhere especially in the mountain and wildland areas to pay attention to suspicious actions. If you see something suspicious or a person acting suspiciously report it to CAL FIRE, your local fire department or law enforcement agency”.

The 1994 “One Strike for Arson” law punishes any person who willfully, maliciously, deliberately, with premeditation and with specific intent, sets fire to, burns, or causes to be burned, any residence, structure, forest land or property. That person when convicted is guilty of aggravated arson. According to this law, if any one or more of the specified aggravated factors exists, the person convicted SHALL not be eligible for probation and SHALL be imprisoned in state prison for ten years to life.

As we have seen in the last few weeks, the vegetation across Southern California is tinder dry and with low humidity and high winds, very susceptible to ignition. Almost any type of heat source can start a fire in these conditions. If you see a fire, no matter what size, report it to the nearest fire department or call “911”. Please do not assume that another person made the call. The quicker the public reports a fire, the faster firefighters can respond. Remember, that if you have information about how a fire started, report it to the fire department or law enforcement.
CAL FIRE Fire Prevention Battalion Chief Preston Fouts says “preventing fires is everyone’s business. If we work together, we can keep our homes and property, recreational areas and most of all our loved ones safe from the ravages of wildfire”.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Renewing and Rehabilitating

Our Camp Program helping the Mono County Community...

Letters of Appreciation to both the captain and his crew of inmates for their hard work.

A job well done and appreciated!

Thank you Owens Valley Conservation Camp!

Tribute to 9/11 in th City of Yucaipa


Thursday, September 15, 2011

John Incident Update

John Fire at Highway 395, 2 miles south of Big Pine (Inyo County) is now 5,353 acres and 95% contained.

Crews worked throughout last night to gain containment of the fire. Demobilization of resources is in progress.

Road closures lifted as of 8:00 am this morning.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

John Incident

The John Fire started yesterday afternoon at Highway 395 in Inyo County.

Update as of 8:30am this morning is the fire is 2 miles south of Big Pine and is now 2,000 acres at 15% contained.

***Updates to follow***

Friday, September 9, 2011


Thursday, September 8, 2011

Appreciation Night for all Firefighters and their Families

Friday, September 2, 2011

Hill Incident

Wildfire started off I-15 fwy at the top of the Cajon Pass

I-15 fwy is Closed in both directions between Hwy-395 and Hwy-138 at this time but are subject to change.

Unified Command between USFS-BDF, CAL FIRE, and San Bernardino County Fire Dept.

For additional information please contact

BDF Public Information Line:


Monday, August 29, 2011

Remembered and Forever Respected...

Monday, August 15, 2011

CAL FIRE and Edison team up for 12th annual Operation Santa Ana

The CAL FIRE San Bernardino Unit and Southern California Edison will begin the 12th annual Operation Santa Ana this Tuesday, August 16, 2011. Operation Santa Ana was initiated in 2000 as a response to a number of fires caused by power poles, lines, and equipment. Prior to the beginning of Operation Santa Ana approximately 50% of the large and damaging wildfires in Southern California were due to power line and equipment issues. This cooperative inspection program continues to be an annual event in the Inland Empire.

There has not been a major wildland fire caused by Edison pole or line clearance issues in the San Bernardino County areas where CAL FIRE is responsible for protection since the program began. This public/private cooperative effort involves one CAL FIRE Fire Prevention Officer and one Edison employee from their Line Clearance Division riding together to visually inspect pole and line clearances. The teams also look for power pole equipment that might be damaged or in need of repair. Annually, the teams inspect approximately 5,000 poles and more than 1,000 miles of power line.

The timing of this year's inspections is designed to have all phases completed and all the lines and poles checked prior to the arrival of the annual Santa Ana winds. The moisture in the wildland vegetation that was higher than usual for most of the summer is reaching volatile levels. For the people that live in the wildland interface or rural areas, they need to plan ahead. We know that in California and particularly Southern California, most of the largest fires occur during the late summer and fall months.

CAL FIRE San Bernardino Unit Chief Tim McClelland says "residents need to have a plan set and ready for when they have to GO! Know the evacuation routes from your home if a fire should break out, know what you need to take and have it ready to go. When the fire is approaching it is too late to figure out what to do." For some suggestions, you can go to . Remember, it is not if a fire will come, it's when. We are prepared to respond, are you?

NBC 4 Fire Safety

After a two year absence, CAL FIRE returned to NBC LA to teach the news media fire safety class. This is the sixth year in the last eight years that NBC LA has invited CAL FIRE to come in and teach fire safety to the members of the news staff. This year, CAL FIRE San Bernardino Unit Information Officer Bill Peters taught a combination of refresher classes and the four hour certificate class. Since it had been two years since Bill was last there, he proposed to split the instruction so that the new members of the staff that had not received any fire safety training could receive the full class. Those members of the news staff that had gone through the class previously would receive the 90-minute refresher class.
The classes ran for three days, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday August 8,9,and 10. The first five classes were the ninety minute classes with the last three the complete four hour versions. One of the fun parts of the class was the section on fire shelters and getting a volunteer from each class to demonstrate how to properly deploy one. All of the volunteers did very well in their shelter deployment efforts. This is important since the news media face many of the same dangers and hazards that firefighters face while out near the fireline.

Nearly 100 reporters, editors, producers, and videographers attended the classes. Peters said "I have so many friends here at NBC LA that I really enjoy teaching them and renewing their awareness of fire safety." The curriculum includes sections on fire safety, proper personal protective equipment, fire behavior, fire shelters, and the media access law, California Penal Code Section 409.5

Thursday, July 21, 2011

San Bernardino Unit Welcomes Assistant Chief Dan Johnson

Newly promoted Assistant Chief Dan Johnson received his oath of office from Unit Chief Tim McClelland yesterday during a ceremony at Unit Headquarters. Chief Johnson will take over as the Chief of the Pilot Rock Conservation Camp located north of Crestline, California.

Chief Johnson began his fire fighting career in 1983 as a Paid Call Firefighter in the CAL FIRE Riverside Unit. As he moved forward in his career, he transferred in 1988 to Felton, California as a Heavy Fire Equipment Operator (HFEO). From 1990 to 1993, Chief Johnson worked in the San Bernardino Unit as an HFEO. He also worked as a Camp Crew Captain at the San Bernardino Unit's Fenner Conservation Camp.

In 1995 he transferred to the Riverside Unit returning to where he began his career. While there, he promoted to Battalion Chief and worked in several assignments including field Battalion Chief and pre-fire and vegetation management Battalion Chief.

Chief Johnson will be a valuable asset to the CAL FIRE San Bernardino Unit and the Pilot Rock camp. His years of experience and abilities will enhance the operations of the camp and the unit.

Friday, July 15, 2011

CAL FIRE Teaches Fire Safety at ABC7

For the second consecutive year, the CAL FIRE San Bernardino Unit was invited to present our News Media Fire Safety class to the news staff at ABC7 television. Located in Glendale, San Bernardino Unit Information Officer Bill Peters conducted eight 90-minute refresher classes over three days, July 12, 13, and 14. Attendance at one of the classes was required for the news staff and technical staff.

Last year, Peters presented the four hour safety class for the first time ever at ABC7. This year, the refresher class included wildland fire behavior, fire ground injuries and safety, off-road vehicle operation, Penal Code Section 409.5 (media access law), and a special focus on Situational Awareness. Peters also spent some time on fire shelter use and deployment, with a volunteer in every class actually deploying a practice shelter. By the way, some of the volunteers were females including one lady reporter who successfully deployed the shelter in her business suit while wearing heels, demonstrating that anyone can successfully deploy a fire shelter. "I really appreciated the willingness of the attendees to engage in the class as well as volunteer to try something new in front of their peers" said Peters.

CAL FIRE Firefighter Fights for Kids

He's a runner, he's a boxer and he's a firefighter II/paramedic for CAL FIRE. Steve Leverette works at station 543 in the City of Highland and that's where this story begins. During business inspections back in March, the engine crew from station 543 paid a visit to a local gym. The firefighters discovered that the gym was a none-profit organization "Highland Boxing".

From that visit, Leverette ran in the Los Angeles Marathon representing the gym for Charity. As a result of that involvement, the gym trained Steve for three months in preparation for a charity boxing event called Battle of the Badges 2011. The training was conducted by Tony and Sunny Cifuentes. The event was held at the Casino Morongo Spa and Resort and was sponsored by "Cops 4 Kids" which is a non-profit organization dedicated to getting kids off the streets. The event was sold out!

The boxing matches involved law enforcement officers and firefighters. Leverette answered the bell in championship fashion. His bout was stopped in the second round as he won with a TKO. For you none boxing fans that means Technical Knockout.

Firefighter II/Paramedic Leverette is to be congratulated not only for his boxing prowess, but for his desire to get involved and help to protect the community he serves on duty and off.

CAL FIRE lends a hand to the Homeless

Yucaipa approves new contract with CAL FIRE

The City of Yucaipa at their July 11, 2011 council meeting approved a new fire protection and paramedic services contract with the CAL FIRE San Bernardino Unit. According to City Manager Ray Casey, the original contract was approved on June 28, 1999. However, CAL FIRE and the city have been working without a formal agreement in place since June 30, 2005.

The new contract formalizes services through June 30, 2014. City officials say they are pleased with the service that CAL FIRE provides not only on a day by day basis, but during emergency events as well. Yucaipa Mayor Dick Riddell Says "I have always been pleased with the level of service we receive from CAL FIRE."

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

CAL FIRE In the Bishop Community

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Smokey WOW's em at Rosemead's 4th of July parade

It was your typical home town Fourth of July parade in the City of Rosemead, California and for the second consecutive year, Smokey Bear was there. The CAL FIRE San Bernardino Unit was honored to support Rosemead's 4th of July parade by providing America's all time fire prevention symbol. This year as last year, Smokey was played by VIP Jason Lannon. There were many animated figures in the parade, but the shouts were reserved for Smokey.

Smokey pulling out onto the parade route.

A real hometown hero

Letter of Appreciation:

Friday, July 1, 2011

Carbon Monoxide Law Takes Effect Today!

Beginning today July 1, 2011, new legislation goes into effect that requires homeowners to install carbon monoxide detectors in every California home; a move CAL FIRE officials say will save lives. Acting State Fire Marshal Tonya Hoover says "carbon monoxide is a silent killer, each year claiming the lives of an average of 480 people and sending more than 20,000 people to emergency rooms across the nation".

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless gas that is produced from heaters, fireplaces, furnaces and many types of appliances and cooking devices. Carbon monoxide is produced whenever any fuel such as gas, oil, kerosene, wood, or charcoal is burned. In the past, some people have used things to heat homes or rooms and sadly, deaths have occurred from the carbon monoxide. "Having a CO detector is a small investment that really can help save your life and the lives of your family" said San Bernardino Unit Chief Tim McClelland.

It is important that you know the symptoms of CO poisoning. At moderate levels, you or your family can get severe headaches, become dizzy, mentally confused, nauseated, or faint. You can die if these levels persist for a long time. Low levels can cause shortness of breath, mild nausea, and mild headaches and may have longer term effects on your health. Since many of these symptoms are similar to those of the flu, food poisoning, or other illnesses, you may not think that CO poisoning could be the cause.

Though previous laws only required newly-constructed homes to have CO alarms, the state's new Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Prevention Act (Senate Bill 183) requires owners of all existing single-family homes with an attached garage or fossil fuel source to install CO alarm devices within the home by July 1, 2011. Owners of multi-family leased or rental dwellings, such as apartment buildings, have until January 1, 2013 to comply with the law.

For additional information on how to prevent Carbon Monoxide poisoning visit the CAL FIRE website at

CAL FIRE Suspends Burning Permits

CAL FIRE is suspending burning permits on ALL STATE RESPONSIBILITY LANDS WITHIN SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY. This is being done because of the extreme potential for wildland fire. The burn suspension was effective as of 6:00 A.M. this morning, July 1, 2011 in accordance with Section 4423.1 of the California Public Resources Code. The suspension is effective except in incorporated cities. Additionally, the use of campfires is restricted to campfire facilities located within established campgrounds that are open to the public.

Tim McClelland, CAL FIRE San Bernardino Unit Chief says "the large grass crop across the wildland areas of southern California have dried out and can be ignited very easily. By taking this step, we hope to reduce the accidental fire starts that can threaten life and property within San Bernardino County."

We have already witnessed active burning conditions on several wildland fires within San Bernardino County. The high desert area is currently experiencing extreme burning conditions. Homeowner's responsibility is the key to fire safety. Following the law and having their 100 feet of defensible space (or to the property line) is a great first step in hardening their homes and property against wildland fire.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Chief Rod Bywater Reports for Duty

Today was the official start date for Chief Rod Bywater, the new Deputy Chief for the San Bernardino Unit. Chief Bywater returns to the San Bernardino Unit after several years working and advancing in the nearby CAL FIRE Riverside Unit.

Unit Chief Tim McClelland gives the oath of office to New Deputy Chief Rod Bywater

Chief McClelland congratulates his new Deputy Chief. Welcome aboard Chief Bywater.