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

Monday, December 31, 2012

Smokey Bear’s New Year’s Fire Safety Resolutions for 2013

The CAL FIRE San Bernardino Unit and Smokey Bear want to wish you a safe and prosperous 2013. To help with that, Smokey Bear has provided his 2013 New Year’s fire safety resolutions;

1. First and foremost, always think fire safety.

2. As we begin the New Year with very cold weather, please remember to be careful in how you heat your homes. Heating fires are a major cause of home fires in the United States. If you use portable space heaters, remember to follow all safety requirements and never use or leave it near anything that might catch fire.

3. Make sure that your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are working and if not, get them fixed or replaced. It’s a small cost to help protect your family.

4. If you like to use your fireplace regularly, make sure that it is properly cleaned and don’t overload it with wood. If you clean out the ashes from the fireplace, you should place them in a metal container, water them down and place the container away from the home and garage. Ashes can still be hot enough to ignite even if they appear to be totally out.

5. It’s never too early to begin thinking about clearing your property. Planning now will make the job easier when you begin the process in a few months.

6. Smokey says “always plan to be fire safe in whatever you do this year. Think about where you are and what you are doing and what could happen if you are careless with fire. Those few extra moments thinking about fire safety could mean the difference in preventing a fire from starting that might endanger you, your loved ones, property and the environment.”

To find more fire safety tips and suggestions you can go to or

Monday, December 24, 2012

Santa Arrives in CAL FIRE/Highland Fire Engine

In case you were not aware, Santa Clause will utilize forms of transportation other than his sleigh like he did on Friday, December 21, 2012.  Since the sleigh was not available, it was being tuned up and being made flight ready for tonight, Santa used a Highland City/CAL FIRE fire engine to make a special visit.  Santa was delivering Christmas wishes and cheer to a young man and his family.  the young man is currently fighting leukemia.  Santa along with CAL FIRE/Highland firefighters and Sheriff's Deputies from the Highland City Police Station helped Santa to make this special pre-Christmas delivery.

As Santa left, he was heard to say, have a fire safe and Merry Christmas one and all.  Well said Santa!

Monday, December 17, 2012

CAL FIRE San Bernardino Unit Transitions to Winter Staffing

Recent precipitation and cooler weather in Southern California has prompted CAL FIRE-San Bernardino Unit, to transition to winter staffing levels in Inyo, Mono and San Bernardino counties effective Monday, December 17, 2012. The transition to winter staffing includes the release of seasonal wildland firefighters and the down staffing of several wildland engines. Winter maintenance will begin for engines, bull dozers and aircraft. Firefighters will update skills and complete training in preparation for changes in the weather and any increase in fire conditions.

In addition to resources available statewide, the CAL FIRE San Bernardino Unit will maintain staffing on three wildland engines for the winter. These resources will be stationed in Devore, Phelan, and Bishop in the Owens Valley. Throughout the winter, Helicopter 305, operated in partnership with the San Bernardino County Sheriffs Department will be available on an as needed basis and CAL FIRE crews and firefighters will be prepared to respond to a variety of emergencies. Winter staffing does not impact CAL FIRE’s cooperative agreements or the availability of CAL FIRE’s 5,000 full time firefighters to respond to emergencies.

"Our staffing levels are augmented as wildfire conditions warrant and this reduction in staffing and resources is indicative of a reduction in wildland fire danger," said CAL FIRE San Bernardino Deputy Unit Chief Rod Bywater. "However, local residents should be aware that even with the recent cool weather and precipitation, a period of dry windy conditions could change things to the point where wildand fires are possible." "During the 2012 fire season our firefighters responded to thousands of local emergencies in Inyo, Mono and San Bernardino counties and also supported major firefighting efforts throughout the state," said Chief Bywater.

CAL FIRE is urging residents to continue working throughout the winter months to create and maintain defensible space around their home. “By removing dead vegetation 100 feet from homes and following a few simple steps, homeowners can drastically increase the survivability of their home during a wildfire.” says Preston Fouts, CAL FIRE San Bernardino Unit Fire Prevention Battalion Chief. For more information on defensible space and preparing your home and family for wildfire please visit and the CAL FIRE website at

CAL FIRE Yucaipa Donates Fire Engine to Local Fire Academy

On behalf of the city, the Yucaipa Fire and Paramedic Department donated a 1982 fire engine to Craf­ton Hills College on Dec. 10 during a special ceremony in front of city hall.

CHC President Cheryl Mar­shall, several deans and CHC Fire Academy Chief Dan Sulli­van gathered outside along with city council, city staff and Fire Chief Steve Shaw.

Read the rest of the story at;

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

CAL FIRE San Bernardino Unit Chief presents JAC Certificates

CAL FIRE San Bernardino Unit Chief Tim McClelland presented four Joint Apprenticeship Committee (JAC) certificates Monday, December 10, 2012. The presentations were made to Firefighter II Lee Fonseca, Firefighter II Julio Ramirez, Fire Apparatus Engineer Brett Taylor, and Firefighter II Brett Richmond. The ceremony was conducted at San Bernardino Unit Headquarters.

FFII Lee Fonseca & Unit Chief Tim McClelland

FFII Julio Ramirez

FAE Brett Taylor

FFII Brett Richmond

(L to R) Julio Ramirez, Brett Richmond, Lee Fonseca, Chief Tim McClelland and Brett Taylor

The apprenticeship training program consists of academy training followed by specific instruction that relates to and supplements what was taught in the academy. The program provides true-life experiences through on the job training. CAL FIRE has three year apprenticeship programs for the classifications of Fire Fighter II and Fire Apparatus Engineer.

Monday, December 10, 2012

CAL FIRE BDU Lifts Burn Suspension

Officials from the San Bernardino Unit of CAL FIRE lifted the special burn suspension in the mountain and valley areas located within the South Coast Air Quality Management District of San Bernardino County effective 6:00 a.m. Saturday, December 8, 2012. The burn suspension remains in effect for all areas within the Mojave Desert Air Quality Management District. Fire Prevention Battalion Chief Preston Fouts says “outdoor burning will once again 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 clearance, 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. 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 Deputy Unit Chief Rod Bywater.

The special restrictions that remain in effect 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

Tree Climbing...really!

Recently, fire captains from CAL FIRE and the United States Forest Service participated in the U.S.F.S. National Tree Climbing Class.  The class was put on with the cooperation of the San Bernardino National Forest and included four CAL FIRE Captains and four USFS Captains.  The class was designed to qualify the participants to work in hazard trees and allowed them to meet National training standards.

 The week long class included classroom training and parctical application in free climbing, hardwood walking, limb walking, and tree rescue.  This allowed the Captains to actually get into the trees to practice and refine what they had learned.  These abilities are useful in tree hazard removal, tree rescue, pine cone gathering and resource management.  These abilities can also be ustilized on the fireline for tree hazard removal if a certified climber is needed.

The practical application portion of the class went on in the Fawnskin area and Lake Silverwood area of the San Bernardino Mountains. The instructors were USFS Division Chief Chris Stevens from the Inyo National Forest and USFS Captain Oscar Vargas frrom the Little Tujunga Hot Shots on the Angeles National Forest.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Give the Gift of Fire Safety this Christmas Season

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.

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.

If you are decorating your home with lights, the CAL FIRE San Bernardino Unit and your local fire 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.”

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

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.

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

6. 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.

7. 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.

8. 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.

9. 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.

10. 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;

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.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Winter Weather Increases Heating-Related Fires

Homeowners Asked to be Safe with Heating Equipment

Winter is here! The days are shorter, the outside temperature is lower, and in some places, it’s cold, icy and snowy. No matter where you live, winter brings a change in weather and a time to think about home-heating safety. Improper use or poorly maintained heating equipment is one of the leading causes of home fires and home fire deaths across the country. In fact, half of all home heating fires are reported during the months of December, January and February.

“The cooler weather means an increase in usage of space heaters, fireplaces and other heating devices,” said State Fire Marshal Tonya Hoover, CAL FIRE – Office of the State Fire Marshal. “Sadly, when not used safely, heaters and fireplaces can often lead to fires, injuries and deaths that could have easily been prevented.”

With a few simple safety tips and precautions, you can prevent most heating fires from happening.

CAL FIRE offers the following fire safety tips:

Keep anything that can burn at least 3 feet away from heating equipment such as a furnace, fireplace, woodstove or portable space heater.

Have a 3-foot “kid-free zone” around open fires and space heaters.

Always turn portable heaters off when leaving a room or going to bed.

Make sure the fireplace has a sturdy screen to prevent sparks from escaping.

Allow fireplace ashes to completely cool before disposing of them. Place in a tightly covered metal container at least 10 feet away from your home and any other nearby buildings. NEVER empty fireplace or woodstove ashes directly into a trash can.

 Never use your oven to heat your home.

 If using fossil fuel heating, install and maintain carbon monoxide (CO) alarms to avoid the risk of CO poisoning. Make sure your home has working smoke alarms as well.

For more information on safe home heating visit the CAL FIRE website at

Friday, November 30, 2012

Spark of Love Kick off

 The 20th annual ABC& Firefighters "Spark of Love" Christmas toy drive officially kicked off this morning in Ontario.  The CAL FIRE San Bernardino Unit was there to support the kick off as were several other fire departments including Ontario Fire Department who did all the coordinating for the event. 
Garth Kemp accepting toy donation from Ontario P.D.
ABC7 Weatherman Garth Kemp was on hand to keep things going and from 5 a.m. to 7 a.m. one bus was filled with holiday gists juest waiting to make a child happy this Christmas.

CAL FIRE BDU firefighters help to load toy donations

Garth Kemp and Raider Claus
The CAL FIRE San Bernardino Unit was one of the original founders of the "Spark of Love" Christmas toy drive and for many years was the coordinator for all of San Bernardino County.  The San Bernardino Unit continues to support the Spark of Love Christmas toy drive through events like today's kick off and through toy collections in the contract cities of Hghland and Yucaipa.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

CAL FIRE BDU Removes Old Trees in Yucaipa

You could call it a case of "out with the old and in with the new" as a fire crew from Pilot Rock Camp took down three dead cedar trees in Yucaipa this week and turned them into lumber.  The three trees were located in a large planter area in front of the Yucaipa Historical Museum located at 35136 Avenue "A".  The actual building is the original Yucaipa California Division of Forestry Fire Station.  The cedars were removed to make way for a newly designed area to be dedicated to the firefighters that have served in the City of Yucaipa.

Under the direction of San Bernardino Unit Forester Glenn Barley, the trees were taken down and turned into usable lumber.  The lumber is to be used as part of the railing for the driveway bridge at the new Yucaipa Sheriff's Station.  Any left over wood will also be used for other decorative purposes within the city of Yucaipa. 

Captain Steve Volmer explains to Unit Forester Glenn Barley his suggestion for taking the trees down
The man tasked with falling the trees and cutting the wood into lumber was Captain Steve Volmer from the San Bernardino Unit's Fenner Conservation Camp.  He was assisted by a fire crew from the Pilot Rock Conservation Camp. The primary work of taking the trees down and milling them into lumber was accomplished in two days.  The lumber sizes to be milled included 6x6, 2x6, 2x3, and 2x4 as far as the trees will go.
Captain Volmer making cut of upper portion of one of the trees to be taken down

Some of the left over wood milled from the fallen trees

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Invasive Pest Found in Riverside County

Fire and Forest Officials Ask Public's Help to Stop Spread

The goldspotted oak borer (GSOB) has been detected in a recently-killed California black oak tree in the Riverside County mountain community of Idyllwild. Larvae extracted from under the tree bark were subjected to DNA analysis at the University of California Riverside and confirmed to be Agrilus auroguttatus, the scientific name for GSOB. This new detection of GSOB represents the first long-distance movement of the beetle from its known area of infestation in San Diego County, 40 miles to the south. It is believed to have made the jump from San Diego to Idyllwild through the movement of infested firewood. The infested tree is slated for immediate removal and disposal.

The GSOB is transported in oak firewood, so it is critical that Californians keep firewood local and not move it out of the area. Here are some immediate steps to help stop the spread of GSOB:

• Use firewood from local sources - “Buy it Where you Burn It”

• Leave firewood at home - do not transport it to recreational cabins, campgrounds or parks

“The public plays a key role in stopping the spread of the destructive GSOB,” said CAL FIRE Director and State Forester Ken Pimlott. “When choosing firewood make sure you buy it from a local source and not from out of the area. This infestation could have devastating effects on California and we all must work to stop its spread.”

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) is collaborating with the University of California, the U.S. Forest Service and the County of Riverside to develop a rapid response plan for GSOB in San Jacinto forest communities. Surveys are already in progress to determine the extent of the infestation. Property owners in the Idyllwild area will be receiving additional information in the coming weeks on the GSOB and how to assess their own oak trees as well as a list of recommended contacts for questions. These infestations can be very destructive to our forests, communities, individual properties, and are extremely costly to control.

“This discovery of GSOB in Riverside County is of great concern,” said CAL FIRE/Riverside County Fire Chief John R. Hawkins. “These mountain communities have endured years of drought and bark beetle infestation and we need to work collaboratively with the public and all stakeholders to stop the GSOB from further destroying our forest and oak woodlands.”

Anyone planning to purchase or burn firewood is encouraged to visit to learn how help stop the spread of GSOB and other pests through the movement of firewood. For more information on GSOB visit

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

November is California Carbon Monoxide Awareness Month

State Law Requires CO Alarms in Most Homes

November is Carbon Monoxide Awareness month and CAL FIRE is reminding all residents of the importance of having a working carbon monoxide alarm. As of July 1, 2011, state law requires owners of single family homes with attached garages or fossil fuel sources for heating to install carbon monoxide alarms in every California home. In addition, all other dwelling units, like apartments, are required to have an alarm by January 1, 2013.

“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.” said State Fire Marshal Tonya Hoover, CAL FIRE-Office of the State Fire Marshal.

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless gas that is produced from heaters, fireplaces, furnaces, and many types of appliances and cooking devices. The best way for homeowners to stay protected from CO is to have a carbon monoxide alarm installed on every floor and outside each sleeping area. A recent study found that nearly nine in 10 California households did not have a CO alarm. “Having a CO alarm is a small investment that really can help save your life and the lives of your family,” said Chief Hoover.

California’s Carbon Monoxide Month is intended to help educate homeowners about the law and to encourage them to install a carbon monoxide alarm. CAL FIRE / Office of the State Fire Marshal is teaming up with fire departments across the state, as well as other State agencies to spread the word about the dangers of CO and how to keep your family and friends safe.

As the cooler weather moves into California and the use of fossil fuel heating increases, now is the time to be aware of the dangers of CO and how you can prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. For more information on carbon monoxide visit the CAL FIRE website at or visit the website for the California Department of Public Health at

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

CAL FIRE Offers Halloween Safety Tips

Make Halloween a fun and safe night for trick-or-treaters

Halloween is a fun and exciting time of year, but it is also an important time to practice fire and personal safety. The occurrence of fire increases around Halloween due to the use of candles as decorations. According to the National Fire Protection Association, Halloween decorations are the cause of over 1,000 homes fires each year. CAL FIRE would like to remind parents and trick or treaters to practice a few simple safety precautions.


• Purchase costumes made of flame resistant or retardant material. Fire resistant does not mean fire proof.

• Apply reflective tape to Halloween costumes.

• Consider using make-up instead of masks which can obstruct vision.

• Avoid loose and baggy sleeves. Stay away from billowing or long trailing fabric.

• Keep hemlines short enough to prevent tripping.


• Light jack-o-lanterns with a battery powered light – NEVER use candles!

• Instruct children to stay away from open flames. Be sure they know how to stop, drop and roll if their clothing catches fire.

• Dried flowers, cornstalks and crepe paper are highly flammable. Keep these and other decorations well away from all open flames and heat sources including light bulbs and heaters.

• Keep exits clear of decorations so nothing blocks escape routes.


• Children should always go trick-or-treating with a responsible adult.

• If driving, be sure to watch for trick-or-treaters who are too busy to watch for you.

• Provide children with flashlights or glow sticks to carry for lighting and visibility.

• Do not allow children to carry sharp sticks or other objects that could cause injury to others.

• Keep your yard free of tripping hazards, such as tools, hoses, etc

Remember to closely inspect all candy before allowing children to eat it, discarding any unwrapped treats. If in doubt, throw it out!

CAL FIRE wishes all Californians a safe and enjoyable Halloween! For more Halloween fire safety ideas and tips, please visit the CAL FIRE website at

Monday, October 29, 2012

CAL FIRE Firefighters rescue homeowner

Firefighters responding to a report of a structure fire in the city of Highland, California this morning were able to remove an unconscious elderly man from the home located at 6644 Robinson Road. The structure fire call was received at 10:03 with the first fire engines arriving on scene at 10:09 A.M.

The single family structure had light smoke venting through the turbines on the roof. Firefighters had been advised at the time of the call that there was an elderly person inside. As they approached the home, they found a security front door. Firefighters from the city of Highland and San Manuel Fire Department then used a nearby bedroom window to enter the home.

The firefighters searched the home and found the resident unconscious on the kitchen floor. They also discovered something burned and smoldering on the kitchen stove. They quickly removed the smoldering material from the stove while other firefighters removed the patient from the home. Firefighter paramedics attended to the patient who was then transported to Saint Bernadine Medical Center in San Bernardino. The condition of the patient was undetermined

Firefighters reported that when they entered the home through the bedroom window, the home was full of smoke and a smoke alarm was activated. Firefighters helped to evacuate the smoke from the home. Firefighters from the city of Highland, San Bernardino City and San Manuel responded to the fire.

Time change, A Reminder That Can Save Lives

Reminding you to set your clocks back this November 4, 2012 also gives the CAL FIRE San Bernardino, Inyo, Mono Unit the opportunity to stress the importance of changing the batteries in your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. The few moments taken to make this change could save lives. Smoke alarms with non-replaceable (long-life) batteries are designed to remain effective for up to ten years. However, CAL FIRE urges you to use the time change as a reminder to check your detectors and alarms to make sure that they are working and if need be, change the battery or the detector.

In the United States, almost two-thirds of home fire deaths result from fires in homes with inoperable or no smoke alarms present. On average, families have less than three minutes from the time the first smoke alarm sounds to escape a fire. This fact tells the importance of having functioning alarms in your home, giving you and your family the opportunity to receive the benefits the devices were designed to provide.

Households with non-working smoke alarms outnumber those with no smoke alarms. It really is as simple as changing the devices batteries once a year to prevent potential injury and/or death to yourself, family members and friends. Placing new batteries into your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors is a very inexpensive form of life insurance. Be an advocate for your family, friends and neighbors, change your batteries and pass the message on throughout your community.

“The peak time for home fire fatalities is between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. when most families are asleep,” says CAL FIRE San Bernardino Deputy Unit Chief Rod Bywater. According to CAL FIRE San Bernardino Unit Fire Prevention Battalion Chief Preston Fouts, “Smoke alarm maintenance is a simple, effective way to reduce home fire deaths and injuries. Children and senior citizens are most at risk and a working smoke alarm can provide the extra life saving seconds they need to get out safely.” For more fire safety information please visit .

Friday, October 26, 2012

State Provides Fire Prevention Fee Information Resources

As the State’s Fire Prevention Fee continues to be implemented, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) is providing property owners multiple resources to answer their questions about the new fee. This outreach effort is being implemented as a result of Assembly Bill X1 29, which was signed into law July 7, 2012 establishing a fee for fire prevention services in the 31 million acres of State Responsibility Area (SRA).

Earlier this year the Department established a website,, which contains comprehensive information about the fee and helpful links to maps, the law language, and answers frequently asked questions. Additionally, a customer service call center is staffed Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (except holidays) to further aid homeowners that have questions about the Fire Prevention Fee. The call center number is 1-888-310-6447.

The revenue generated from the fee pays for fire prevention services within the SRA. Fire prevention services funded by the fee include brush clearance around communities, fire break construction, defensible space inspections, fire prevention engineering, emergency evacuation planning, fire prevention education, fire hazard severity mapping, implementation of the State’s Fire Plan (, and fire related law enforcement activities such as fire cause determination and arson investigation.

Under the law, the Board of Equalization (BOE) is responsible for collecting the fee. The BOE began mailing the bills alphabetically by county on August 13,

Sixth Anniversary of the Esperanza Fire

Esperanza fire engine 57  Today is the sixth anniversary of the Esperanza arson fire that would ultimately result in the deaths of five United States Forest Service Firefighters. Jason McKay, Jess McLean, Daniel Najera, Mark Loutzenhiser, and Pablo Cerda were killed as their position was burned over by the fast moving flames.

As we find ourselves facing another Santa Ana wind event, we remember their sacrifice as well as how dangerous fire fighting is.  Please join with us in remembering these fallen firefighters and their families.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Strong Winds Prompt CAL FIRE to Increase Staffing

With gusty dry winds forecast for Southern California, CAL FIRE has increased its staffing and is urging the public to be extra cautious. The Weather Service has issued a Red Flag Warning throughout much of Southern California starting Thursday night for high winds with gusts of 60 mph along with low humidity lasting through Saturday.

“Though much of Northern and Central California have received significant rain, Southern California remains very dry and the potential for large fires still exists,” said Chief Ken Pimlott, CAL FIRE director. “We will have extra firefighters and equipment available to respond to new wildfires during this wind event, but we are reminding residents to be extremely cautious while outdoors in order to help prevent accidental wildfires from starting.”

CAL FIRE has increased its preparedness by staffing additional fire engines, bulldozers, fire crews, and aircraft. These state resources will be positioned strategically to allow for rapid response into communities and watershed areas that may be affected by a fast moving wildfire. The increased staffing includes the county fire departments of Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, Ventura, and Orange, who CAL FIRE contracts with for fire protection of State Responsibility Area.

CAL FIRE urges everyone to exercise extreme caution when in or near the wildland or open areas to prevent a fire. A few helpful reminders and safety tips include:

• Don’t mow or weed eat dry grass on windy days

• Ensure campfires are allowed, and if so, be sure to extinguish them completely when done

• Target shoot only in approved areas, use lead ammunition only, and never at metal targets

• Be extra careful with all powered equipment outdoors including chainsaws, tractors and welders

• Never burn landscape debris like leaves or branches on NO Burn Days or when its windy

The public is encouraged to review “Ready, Set, Go” procedures when it comes to preparing for a wildfire at

For more ways to help prevent and prepare for wildfires: or

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

CAL FIRE Cares Enough to Wear Pink

Firefighters show support for battle against cancer

Sacramento – Across California residents may notice something a bit different on the uniform of firefighters, dispatchers and employees of CAL FIRE; a large pink ribbon. CAL FIRE is joining fire and police departments across the nation by participating in the 2012 national “Cares Enough to Wear Pink" campaign October 21 - 27, 2012.

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 is a terrible disease that affects so many people including firefighters,” said Chief Ken Pimlott, CAL FIRE director. “I’m proud that we are able to take such a small step to raise awareness for such an important cause.”

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 the 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.

Burn Suspension Lifted in Inyo and Mono Counties

Officials from the San Bernardino, Inyo, Mono Unit of CAL FIRE have lifted the special burn suspension in Inyo and Mono counties effective 6:oo a.m. on Tuesday, October 23, 2012. Fire Prevention Battalion Chief Preston Fouts says “outdoor burning will once again 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 clearance, 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 Deputy Unit Chief Rod Bywater.

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

Thursday, October 18, 2012

CAL FIRE and CAL TRANS working together

 CAL FIRE crews from Fenner Conservation Camp and Pilot Rock Conservation Camp are spending the day clearing away overgrown vegetation and debris from the southbound lanes of State Highway 18.  Six crews are clearing a roadside area from a mile above the Old Waterman Canyon Road turnoff to the Highway 18 Sierra Way split.  This combined effort will reduce the fire start potential by removing dead and decadent vegetation from immediately adjacent to the roadway.  CAL FIRE crews regularly perform this type of highway roadside clearing with CAL TRANS.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Zone Of Infestation Declared for Goldspotted Oak Borer

The California Board of Forestry and Fire Protection has adopted a “Zone of Infestation” within San Diego County for the Goldspotted Oak Borer (GSOB) based on a recommendation made by CAL FIRE Chief Ken Pimlott, California’s state forester. The decision came at the Board’s September 12, 2012 meeting.

The GSOB Zone of Infestation is intended to raise awareness of the pest and reduce the potential for its spread outside of San Diego County. Establishment of the Zone will likewise support ongoing multi-partner collaborative efforts toward GSOB prevention, containment, control, and remediation.

The GSOB was first identified in 2002 in San Diego County and thus far does not appear to have expanded its infestation elsewhere in the state. The insect is causing mortality in healthy, mature coast live oak, canyon live oak, and California black oak trees. It is estimated that approximately 80,000 oak trees have been killed in San Diego County since 2002 as a result of the GSOB infestation. The GSOB continues to spread within the county causing significant damage and mortality to oak species.

To help prevent the spread of GSOB, it is critical that all firewood and cut wood not be removed and transported outside of the Zone of Infestation. The Mountain Area Safety Task Force (MAST) advises people who like to burn cut wood to be very careful about where the wood they use was cut. MAST recommends that you utilize the “BURN IT WHERE YOU BUY IT” plan because pests and diseases such as the Goldspotted Oak Borer can travel on firewood long distances, endangering previously unexposed areas. It is more important than ever to be cautious about the firewood we purchase. This will help in keeping another fierce predator from invading our local forests and wildlands.

Having lost so many pine trees to the bark beetle epidemic of the early 2000’s, it is very important to work together to protect the oak trees in our mountains, forests, and wildland areas. Choosing to buy and burn local wood is an easy solution, assuring you aren’t part of the problem. By keeping wood within its area of origin, you can be sure you are keeping any pests and pathogens already present in the local area as well.

For additional information on the Goldspotted Oak Borer you can go to

Friday, October 5, 2012

CAL FIRE reminds all Californians to “Have 2 Ways Out”

National Fire Prevention Week October 7 - 13, 2012

Sacramento – It only takes seconds for a fire to grow out of control, making escape from a fire impossible. That’s why CAL FIRE is urging people to “Have 2 Ways Out” of their home. In the event of a fire, remember that every second counts, so you and your family must always be prepared. Escape plans help you get out of your home quickly. Prepare and practice your fire escape plan regularly with everyone in your household, including children and people with disabilities.

CAL FIRE and fire departments across the state are taking this opportunity during Fire Prevention Week to remind all Californians of the importance of creating a fire escape plan for your home and practicing it regularly. Most home fires occur at night when people are the least prepared. Tragedy can be avoided by knowing in advance and practicing two escape routes from each room.

“In 2011, 70 percent of structure fires in California reported to the CAL FIRE-Office of the State Fire Marshal were residential and accounted for 90 percent of fire deaths,” said State Fire Marshal Tonya Hoover. “Everyone should take steps to help prevent home fires and ensure their family is protected.”

Making an escape plan is simple:

• Draw a map of your home. Mark a door and a window that can be used to get out of every room.

• Choose a meeting place outside in front of your home. This is where everyone can meet after they’ve safely escaped. Draw a picture of your outside meeting place on your escape plan.

• Write the emergency telephone number for the fire department on your escape plan.

• Check your smoke alarms regularly and have practice escape drills so everyone knows two ways out.

Practicing fire-safe behaviors and knowing what to do in an emergency can give your family the seconds needed to escape.

For more fire safety tips, visit the CAL FIRE website at

Monday, October 1, 2012

Another community seeks Cooperative Agreement with CAL FIRE

Communities in San Diego County to be protected by CAL FIRE.  The San Miguel Consolidated Fire Protection District voted recently to approve a cooperative fire protection agreement with CAL FIRE.

Earlier this year some other local governments contracted with CAL FIRE in order to make their communities more cost effective.  The city of Morgan Hill signed a five year contract with CAL FIRE in April 2012, while the Groveland Fire Department inked an agreement for a Schedule A contract in August with CAL FIRE.  The town of Paradise, California also decided this year to contract with CAL FIRE for their fire protection duties.

CAL FIRE has and maintains a variety of agreements with a number of varied agencies, departments and local governmental entities.

Since the 1940s, local government entities such as cities, counties and districts have contracted with CAL FIRE to provide many forms of emergency services for their communities. CAL FIRE provides full-service fire protection to many of the citizens of California through the administration of 145 cooperative fire protection agreements in 33 of the State's 58 counties, 30 cities, 32 fire districts and 25 other special districts and service areas. As a full-service fire department CAL FIRE responds to wildland fires, structure fires, floods, hazardous material spills, swift water rescues, civil disturbances, earthquakes, and medical emergencies of all kinds. Local governments are able to utilize this diversity and experience through their contracts and agreements with the Department. (From the CAL FIRE web site)

Monday, September 24, 2012

Fire Concerns Grow with potential arrival of Santa Ana winds

SAN BERNARDINO — 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.

A recent study by the California Insurance Industry has concluded that more than two million California homes are exposed to potential high wildfire danger. The report says thousands of those homes are in the Inland Empire. As we have witnessed through the years, many of 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, the deadly Esparanza fire.

CAL FIRE San Bernardino Deputy Chief Rod Bywater 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”. CAL FIRE San Bernardino Unit Fire Prevention Battalion Chief Preston Fouts reminds us that “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.  Are you Ready for a wildland fire?  Are you set if a fire occurs? And are you prepared to go if the fire is headed your way? Learn more about being ready for wildfire

According to weather experts, the Santa Ana wind cycle begins when high pressure from the northeast pushes hot dry winds into Southern California. These winds initially occur approximately every ten days. The frequency of the wind events increases as the weeks go by until December when the wind events can happen about every three or four days. The racing winds, dry weather, and low humidity combine to create a prescription for disaster.

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. With this in mind, it is very important for residents everywhere especially in the mountain and wildland areas to pay attention to suspicious actions. If you see something, say something. Report suspicious actions to CAL FIRE, your local fire agency or law enforcement.

The arson fires from 1993 were the catalyst for the 1994 “One Strike for Arson” law. It 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.

CAL FIRE needs your help to combat arson and wildfire. The vegetation is tender 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 11, 2012

9-11-2001 We Will Always Remember

Along with the lowering of the Flag at all CAL FIRE Units throughout the state for today, this message was read today by all CAL FIRE Emergency Command Centers;

"The date 9-11-2001 will be forever be remembered as one of the most significant events in the history of our nation, and in the history of our profession. All CAL FIRE Units throughout the State will observe a moment of silence commemorating the eleven year anniversary of 9-11 in honor of the 3,014 people, including 343 fellow firefighters whose lives were lost. This moment of silence coincides with 0846 Eastern Standard Time, the time the first plane struck the towers on this date 2001."

Ken Pimlott


Thursday, September 6, 2012

Letter of Appreciation to the Owens Valley Conservation Camp

Thursday, August 30, 2012

CAL FIRE in the Communities

Monday, August 27, 2012

CAL FIRE BDU Promotes Two New Battalion Chiefs

Shawn Newman has been promoted to the Chino Institute for Women/Battalion 5 position and Chris Hardy has been promoted to the Owens Valley Relief Battalion Chief position.

Chief Newman began his career with CAL FIRE in 1990 at the Owens Valley Station in the Inyo-Mono-San Bernardino Unit and spent time at Yucaipa, Hesperia, San Antonio and Lucerne Valley Fire Stations. In 1994, Shawn was promoted to Firefighter II in the Riverside Unit where he worked at Rubidoux and Glen Avon for seven Years. Shawn then was selected to work at the Beaumont Forest Fire Station as an LT Engineer before taking a permanent position at the Highgrove Fire Station. He also served assignments at the French Valley and Woodcrest Fire Stations before promoting to Fire Captain at the Norco Conservation Camp.

During his five years at Norco Camp he was assigned to lead the Norco Training Center which is responsible for coordination, syllabus writing and instruction in all aspects of fire control. Shawn transferred to the Bautista Conservation Camp in March of 2011 where he has been working up until accepting this promotion to Limited Term Battalion Chief in the Inyo-Mono-San Bernardino Unit at the CIW Training Center located in Chino. His new position oversees the crucial training and course administration for the female inmate firefighter conservation camp program in California.

Chief Chris Hardy started his career in 1992 as a Volunteer Firefighter in Riverside County. During this time Chris attended San Diego State University where in 1997 he earned a Bachelor's degree in Environmental Science. In the summer of 1998 he accepted a seasonal firefighter position with the San Bernardino National Forest on the San Jacinto Ranger District. From 1998 to 2007 he remained on the San Jacinto District working at the Kenworthy, Cabazon, Cranston and Anza stations, during which time he promoted to the rank of Captain.

In 2007 Chris accepted a position as an Limited Term Firefighter II at the Winchester Station in Riverside County where he received his Hazmat Technician certification and worked on both the engine company and Hazmat 34 unit. In 2008 Chris came to the Inyo-Mono-San Bernardino Unit as an open list Fire Captain and was appointed to a position at the Prado Conservation Camp. For the past two years he has worked as the relief Captain on Helicopter 305 out of Prado Helitack Base.

Think Fire Safety for your Labor Day Holiday

As people head out for the last three day weekend of the summer, the thoughts of rest, relaxation, and fun need to also include thoughts of fire safety. As we have witnessed over the last few weeks, the California wildland is tender dry and more than ready to burn. The last month has seen a high number of days of 100 degrees or greater with the other days in the 90’s. This type of weather, combined with low humidities makes fire starts increasing possible. CAL FIRE officials report that live fuel moistures are critical, and near historically low levels. That is why it is so important to be prepared for fire safety as well as weekend fun.

The weather that we have been experiencing is perfect for increasing the variety of ways that a wildland fire can be started. Many of these potential fire starters are used by people who are relaxing and enjoying the rural areas of Inyo, Mono counties, the Inland Empire and Southern California. CAL FIRE Inyo, Mono, San Bernardino Unit Fire Prevention Battalion Chief Preston Fouts says “while having fun in the outdoors with family and friends it is vitality important to safe guard this time through fire safe thinking and actions. Giving some thought to where you are and what you are doing can help to prevent fires from accidentally being started.” Chief Fouts adds; “people who negligently cause a fire can be held liable for the cost of suppressing the fire.”

To assist people in having a safe time out doors, CAL FIRE has some tips on how to be fire safe;

Camping Safety - Recreational Vehicles:
Use only electric or battery-operated lights in RV’s
Clean and maintain appliances, gas connections and fume vents
When using propane appliances, light the match before turning on gas
Place portable heaters away from combustibles
Do not block exit ways
Extinguish smoking materials before going to sleep
Teach children to operate emergency escape hatches.
Keep a fire extinguisher by the exit door and install a battery operated smoke detector
Prepare and practice a fire escape plan
In case of fire while driving, turn off the ignition and evacuate the vehicle. Watch for traffic and traffic hazards while doing so.

Camping Safety – Tents:
Use only flame resistant tents
Clear a 3 foot area around tent site
Keep lanterns and open flames outside tent
Keep a fire extinguisher inside tent
Extinguish fires and turn off lanterns and stoves before going to sleep
Be prepared to cut your way out of the tent if fire occurs

Camping Safety – Campfires:
Obtain any necessary permits needed for campfires
Put campfire a safe distance from tents, trees, vehicles and buildings
Scrape away grass, pine needles and other debris within a 10-foot perimeter of the campfire
Be sure campfire is out before leaving the area
Wear snug fitting clothing around campfires
Supervise children CLOSELY around campfires
Teach everyone to STOP, DROP and ROLL

Camping Safety – Flammable Liquids:
Use flammable liquids for intended purposes only
Fill lanterns and stoves away from heat sources
Use a funnel and clean up any spills immediately
Store flammable liquids outside, away from tent or RV
Store flammable liquids in approved metal safety can
Transport only minimal amounts in well-ventilated area

BBQ Safety: (Source: National Fire Protection Association)
Propane and charcoal BBQ grills must only be used outdoors. If used indoors, or in any enclosed spaces, such as tents, they pose both a fire hazard and the risk of exposing occupants to toxic gases and potential asphyxiation.
Position the grill well away from siding, deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.
Place the grill a safe distance from lawn games, play areas and foot traffic.
Declare the entire grill area a “kid-free zone” until the grill has completely cooled off.
Put out several long-handled grilling tools to give the chef plenty of clearance from heat and flames when flipping burgers.
If you have a charcoal grill, purchase the proper starter fluid and store the can out of reach of children, and away from heat sources. Wait for the charcoal to completely cool and then dispose of the coals in a metal container.
If you have a propane grill, check the propane cylinder hose for leaks before using it. A light soap and water solution applied to the hose will quickly reveal escaping propane by releasing bubbles. Have leaking fuel lines repaired before using.
All propane cylinders manufactured after April 2002 must have overfill protection devices (OPDs). OPDs shut off the flow of propane before capacity is reached, limiting the potential for release of propane gas if the cylinder heats up. OPDs are easily identified by their triangular-shaped hand wheel.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Surviving the HEAT!!!

It sure is hot! And with the summer heat comes the potential for heat related illnesses. Heat not only affects humans, but if affects animals as well. The CAL FIRE Inyo, Mono, San Bernardino Unit and the National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention want to provide you, your loved ones, and even your pets with some tips on how to stay safe in the heat. CAL FIRE and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say the best prevention for heat related illness is PREVENTION.

· Drink more fluids (nonalcoholic), regardless of your activity level. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink. Warning: If your doctor generally limits the amount of fluid you drink or has you on water pills, ask him how much you should drink while the weather is hot.
· Don’t drink liquids that contain alcohol or large amounts of sugar–these actually cause you to lose more body fluid. Also, avoid very cold drinks, because they can cause stomach cramps.
· Stay indoors and, if at all possible, stay in an air-conditioned place. If your home does not have air conditioning, go to the shopping mall or public library–even a few hours spent in air conditioning can help your body stay cooler when you go back into the heat. Call your local health department to see if there are any heat-relief shelters in your area.
· Electric fans may provide comfort, but when the temperature is in the high 90s, fans will not prevent heat-related illness. Taking a cool shower or bath, or moving to an air-conditioned place is a much better way to cool off.
· Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.
· NEVER leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle.
· Although any one at any time can suffer from heat-related illness, some people are at greater risk than others. Check regularly on:
o Infants and young children
o People aged 65 or older
o People who have a mental illness
o Those who are physically ill, especially with heart disease or high blood pressure
· Visit adults at risk at least twice a day and closely watch them for signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Infants and young children, of course, need much more frequent watching.

If you must be out in the heat:
· Limit your outdoor activity to morning and evening hours.
· Cut down on exercise. If you must exercise, drink two to four glasses of cool, nonalcoholic fluids each hour. A sports beverage can replace the salt and minerals you lose in sweat. Warning: If you are on a low-salt diet, talk with your doctor before drinking a sports beverage. Remember the warning in the first “tip” (above), too.
· Try to rest often in shady areas.
· Protect yourself from the sun by wearing a wide-brimmed hat (also keeps you cooler) and sunglasses and by putting on sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher (the most effective products say “broad spectrum” or “UVA/UVB protection” on their labels).

Animals can also suffer from the heat. To keep them safe, follow these tips from the CAL FIRE San Bernardino Unit and The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals;

Made in the Shade Pets can get dehydrated quickly, so give them plenty of fresh, clean water when it's hot outdoors. Make sure your pets have a shady place to get out of the sun, be careful to not over-exercise them, and keep them indoors when it's extremely hot.

Know the Warning Signs Symptoms of overheating in pets include excessive panting or difficulty breathing, increased heart and respiratory rate, drooling, mild weakness, stupor or even collapse. They can also include seizures, bloody diarrhea and vomit along with an elevated body temperature of over 104 degrees. These pets, along with the elderly, the overweight, should be kept cool in air conditioned rooms as much as possible.

No Parking! Never leave your animals alone in a parked vehicle. "On a hot day, a parked car can become a furnace in no time-even with the windows open-which could lead to fatal heat stroke.”

Summer Style Feel free to trim longer hair on your dog, but never shave your dog: The layers of dogs' coats protect them from overheating and sunburn. Brushing cats more often than usual can prevent problems caused by excessive heat. And be sure that any sunscreen or insect repellent product you use on your pets is labeled specifically for use on animals.

Street Smarts When the temperature is very high don't let your dog linger on hot asphalt. Being so close the ground, your pooch's body can heat up quickly, and sensitive paw pads can burn. Keep walks during these times to a minimum.

Summer heat is survivable if you follow these simple safety suggestions. Think safety first no matter what you are doing for you, your loved ones, and your pets.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

CAL FIRE Issues Statewide Burn Ban

California’s increased fire activity, coupled with the current weather forecast for continued heightened fire danger, has prompted CAL FIRE to suspend all burning permits and open fire within the State Responsibility Area of California. The Burn Ban suspends all residential burn permits, forest management, hazard abatement, and other industrial-type permitted burning within the 31 million acres of State Responsibility Area.

“Over 8,000 CAL FIRE, local and federal firefighters are on the frontlines of nearly a dozen major wildfires that are burning across California,” said Chief Ken Pimlott, CAL FIRE Director. “With conditions being so dry, we need to take every step possible to prevent new wildfires from starting.”

Campfires within organized campgrounds or on private property are allowed if they are in a designated campfire site that prevents fire from spreading outside the site. The burning suspension will remain in effect until there is a significant change in weather conditions or until the end of fire season.

The last two years have been relatively light for wildfires due in part to favorable weather patterns, but this year California has experienced an increase in fires statewide. Historically, the fall months are when the largest and most damaging wildfires occur, so CAL FIRE is urging residents to do their part to be fire safe during this critical time and to make sure they have prepared an emergency plan in case a fire threatens their home or family.

Here are some tips all citizens can use to prevent wildfires:
Do Defensible Space clearing before 10 a.m. and never on a hot and windy day.
DON’T toss cigarettes out your car window.
Don’t pull off into dry grass or brush. Hot exhaust pipes and mufflers can start fires that can’t be seen easily by the driver.
Check with local officials for additional fire restrictions. Check with local officials for additional fire restrictions
In wildland areas, spark arresters are required on all portable gasoline powered equipment. This includes tractors, chainsaws, weedeaters, mowers, motorcycles and All Terrain Vehicles (ATVs)
Report any suspicious activity. Call the CAL FIRE Arson Hotline: 1-800-468-4408.

Nearly ninety-five percent of all wildland fires within CAL FIRE’s jurisdiction are human-caused and CAL FIRE is asking the public to do their part in preventing wildfires. For more fire safety tips visit or the CAL FIRE website at

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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Letter of Appreciation

Friday, July 27, 2012

News Media Fire Safety Class is 10 Years Old

Ten years ago, the CAL FIRE San Bernardino Unit rolled out a specially created program to provide fire safety training to the news media. The program evolved from the practice of having news media days at fire facilities where a few news media people would receive training to the current program. The current program was designed to take real training to the news media in order to actually provide safety training to the maximum number of news personnel possible.

The first location that the class was provided was at Los Angeles television station KTLA, channel 5. From that time, the class has been taught at least once at nearly every television station, news radio station and news paper in the Los Angeles news market. To date more than 1,000 members of the news media, reporters, videographers, news editors, producers and news management have participated in the training.

This year, the CAL FIRE San Bernardino Unit has provided first time and refresher training to Fox News Channel, NBC4 and ABC7. In these training classes, more than 300 news professionals have received the training. The training at ABC7 was conducted this week and more than 150 members of the news staff participated in the three days of fire safety training.

This training is not only important from a safety standpoint which is paramount, but is also provides education that allows the reporters to provide better and more accurate information in their news reports regarding fires and what they can do.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Fire In Chino

Here is a link to a story regarding the Euclid fire Wednesday, July 18 2012 in the Redlands Daily Facts.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Vacation Time means Hotel and Motel Safety

With the hot summer months comes wildfire awareness and planning for the “what ifs” regarding if the fire breaks out near our homes and property. Are you READY… for the possibility of an approaching wildfire? Are you SET… do you have a family communications and escape plan and an emergency supply kit? Are you ready and set to GO… have you practiced your escape plan and do you know what to do if you are trapped? For the answers to these questions, you can go to

However, the hot summer months also means vacations and vacations many times means spending time at hotels, motels and resorts. You still need to be prepared for the possibility of fire. The Unites States Fire Administration reports that there are an estimated 3,900 hotel and motel fires reported throughout the United States each year. CAL FIRE San Bernardino-Inyo-Mono Unit Chief Tim McClelland says “when you stay in a hotel or motel it is important to maintain fire safety for you and your family by becoming familiar with your surroundings and making sure that everyone knows the escape routes.”

Here are some suggestions from the U. S. Fire Administration and CAL FIRE:
· When making your reservations, ask if the hotel or motel has smoke alarms and an automatic fire sprinkler system.
· When traveling, take a flashlight with you.
· Read the fire evacuation plan carefully. If one is not posted in your room, request one from the front desk.
· Locate the two exits nearest your room.
· Count the number of doors between your room and the exits. This will assist you if there is an emergency evacuation.
· Locate the fire alarms on your floor.

Chief McClelland also says, “Taking just a few moments when you arrive at your hotel or motel to learn the fire safety information can be a life saver later on.” The U. S. Fire Administration and CAL FIRE also have some life safety tips for your vacation hotel or motel.
· Never smoke in bed. Statistics show that nationwide there is an average of 365 deaths and 925 injuries from fires related to smoking in bed.
· If there is a fire in your room, get out quickly. Close the door, sound the alarm and notify the front desk.
· Always use a stairwell, never an elevator. The elevator could stop at the floor of the fire.
· If the fire is not in your room, leave if it is safe to do so. Be sure to take your room key with you in case the fire blocks your escape and your need to re-enter your room.
· To check the hallway for fire, touch the door with the back of your hand to test the temperature. If the door is cool, get low to the floor, brace your shoulder against the door and open it slowly. Be ready to close it quickly if there are flames on the other side. Crawl low in the smoke to the nearest exit; the freshest air is near the floor.
· If your room is hot, do not open it. Instead, seal the door with wet towels or sheets. Turn off the fan, heater, and air conditioner. Call the fire department to give your location. Signal from your window.

It is always important no matter what you are doing or where you are; take a few minutes to be fire wise in order to be fire safe.

Monday, July 9, 2012

CAL FIRE BDU Promotes two new Division Chiefs

The CAL FIRE San Bernardino-Inyo-Mono Unit's Pilot Rock and Owens Valley Conservation Camps have new Chiefs. Battalion Chief Jeff Veik and Battalion Chief John Paul Melendrez are now both Division Chiefs and have assumed their new positions affective today. Chief Veik has taken over at the Pilot Rock Camp located near the San Bernardino Mountain community of Crestline, California. Chief Melendrez is the new boss at the Owens Valley Camp near the community of Bishop in Inyo County, California.

Division Chief John Paul Melendrez

Division Chief Jeffery Veik

Both men have extensive careers with CAL FIRE and have worked their way through the ranks to their present positions. Chief Veik has served for years on CAL FIRE Incident Management Teams while Chief Melendrez has been involved with the CAL FIRE Firefighters Association.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Smokey Bear and the 4th of July

For the third consecutive year The CAL FIRE San Bernardino Unit was asked to provide Smokey Bear for the City of Rosemead's 4th of July Parade. Smokey, as popular as any celebrity posed with several people before he even hit the parade route. Parade watchers called Smokey's Name and waved to him as he traveled the one and a half mile parade route. Smokey has become a popular part of the Rosemead 4th of July parade.

Smokey posing with the ladies of Disneyland

Smokey hi-fives with Ronald McDonald

Smokey on the parade route

Monday, July 2, 2012

CAL FIRE Concludes Illegal Fireworks Interdiction Operation

Early this morning (July 02, 2012) CAL FIRE concluded a multi-agency operation designed to prevent illegal fireworks from entering California. The two part operation resulted in the confiscation of over thirteen thousand pounds of illegal fireworks. “There is no excuse for breaking the law when it comes to fireworks. Illegal fireworks and pyrotechnics can cause devastating injuries and damage to property” said Tonya Hoover, California State Fire Marshal. Two families in San Bernardino found that out early Sunday morning, July 01-2012 when their duplex was destroyed by a fire reportedly caused by illegal fireworks.

The interdiction operations were conducted at the California Agricultural checkpoints in Yermo (north of Barstow), Needles, in the community of Shoshone and the Death Valley area. The coordinated multi-agency operation resulted in five felony arrests including one for driving under the influence, 46 misdemeanor arrests and numerous citations for vehicle code violations. During the operation, officers made a total of 170 contacts. The operation also led to the execution of a search warrant in the City of Los Angeles where a large amount of illegal fireworks were believed to be stored.

“This is an excellent example of what can be accomplished when cooperating agencies work together to prevent illegal activities and protect public safety” said Hoover. The agencies that cooperated with CAL FIRE law enforcement officers included the California Agricultural Checkpoints at Yermo and Needles, The San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office, The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, Inyo

County Sheriff’s Department, Inyo County District Attorney’s Office, CHP offices in Bishop and
Barstow, National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, San Bernardino County Fire Department, United States Forest Service, Southern Inyo Fire Protection District, and the Caltrans Shoshone Office.

State Fire Marshal Tonya Hoover said “one thing is for certain; the fireworks that have been confiscated will not start a disastrous wildfire, set a home on fire or send a young child to the emergency room.” Remember, illegal fireworks are just that, illegal.

Safe and sane fireworks are to only be used in approved localities. The public needs to understand that it is illegal to transport, possess, use or store even safe and sane fireworks in communities and rural areas that don’t allow their use. Safe and sane does not mean
non-dangerous. According to statistics from the U. S. Consumer Product Safety Commission more than 50% of fireworks injuries in 2011 were due to the inappropriate use of fireworks. The CPSC also says that the vast majority of injuries are caused by fireworks that are illegal in California. Be fire safe by being fire smart and have a safe Fourth of July.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Teaching Fire Safety

Yes, the news media are real people too. And they need training just like everybody else to be safe in their chosen work environment. That environment is wherever the story is. Subsequently that can take them to areas where their safety is not assured such as wildland fires. For the last seven out of eight years, I have had the privilege of teaching news media fire safety to the news staff at NBC4 in Los Angeles, California.

The four hour basic class or the 2 hour refresher class includes a review of California Penal Code section 409.5d the news media access law, fire behavior and terminology, fire ground injuries, fire ground safety, driving tips and techniques, and the fire safety rules (Ten Standard Firefighting Orders, 18 Situations that shout watch out and Lookouts, Communications, Escape routes, and Safety zones).

This week, more than 60 members of the NBC4 news staff including anchors, reporters, photographers, editors, producers, and assignment desk staff attended the four days of classes.