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

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