Monday, August 29, 2011
Monday, August 15, 2011
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 http://www.readyforwildfire.org/ . Remember, it is not if a fire will come, it's when. We are prepared to respond, are you?
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