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

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

San Bernardino County Fair and CAL FIRE

For more than 25 years the CAL FIRE San Bernardino Unit has been attending the San Bernardino County Fair and for the 16th year in a row, CAL FIRE has been the coordinator for the public service area. Known as Smokey Bear Park, the public service area is a part of the fair set aside for public service and non-profit groups to be able to have space at the fair for free. This is particularly meaningfull for many groups who would otherwise not be able to have a presence at the fair.

Smokey Bear walk with the public service booths. this year's groups include Military Kids, Narcotics Anonymous, Civil Air patrol, High Desert Homeless Shelter, American Legion, and Victor Valley Amateur Radio Club.

CAL FIRE's booth which includes a prize wheel for kids who correctly answer a fire prevention or Smokey Bear question, firefighter cut outs, prevention information and CAL FIRE pictures.

The front entrance to Smokey Bear park. The engine can be seen from the front of the fair when people look westward on Main Street. At night time with the lights activated, the engine is a real crowd pleaser.

Why 100 feet in 3-d. This display is designed to provide a visual to help people understand what their property can look like when they join the fire prevention club by clearing their property and create their own personal defensible space.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Burn Suspension Lifted in Inyo and Mono Counties

Owens Valley – Officials from the San Bernardino Unit of CAL FIRE have lifted the special burn suspension in Inyo and Mono counties effective 6:oo a.m. on Sunday, May 27, 2012. Fire Prevention Battalion Chief Preston Fouts says “outdoor 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 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 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

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Cal Fire San Bernardino Unit Suspends Burning Permits

The CAL FIRE San Bernardino Unit is suspending burning permits on ALL STATE RESPONSIBILITY LANDS WITHIN INYO, and MONO and COUNTIES. This is being done because of the anticipated severe weather 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 Friday, May 25, 2012 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 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 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 Friday morning, May 25, 2012 at 6:00 A.M. and will remain in effect until the suspension is terminated by CAL FIRE.

Along with the burn suspension, CAL FIRE is urging caution this holiday weekend due to the increasing fire danger throughout California.

“Recent fire activity including a 7,000 acre fire just over the border in Nevada, really serves as a reminder, that the conditions are ripe for wildfires,” said Chief Ken Pimlott, director of CAL FIRE. “CAL FIRE crews have already responded to over twice as many fires this year compared to last year at the same time.”

The lack of rainfall across California has set the stage for an increased potential of major wildfires. Coupled with this weekend’s increase in outdoor activities, firefighters will be on high alert. CAL FIRE is asking Californians and visitors to the state to be extra vigilant while recreating in the outdoors.

CAL FIRE would like everyone to remember these important steps this holiday:

Obtain necessary permits needed for campfires
Clear away grass, leaves and other debris within a 10-foot perimeter of any campfire
Have a responsible person in attendance at all times
Ensure all campfires are completely extinguished before leaving
When barbequing, never leave the grill unattended

Wildfires are not the only danger posed by the outdoors; drownings also dramatically increase during the Memorial Day weekend. In California, drowning is the leading cause of death among children under 14, and every year CAL FIRE responds to water rescues across the state, many of which tragically claim the lives of both adults and children.

In the Water:
Always wear a life jacket!
Children should always be supervised by a responsible adult
Never swim alone
Drinking and swimming is just as dangerous and drinking and driving.
For more ways to be safe during the Memorial Day Weekend visit the CAL FIRE website at
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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Ready for the real thing

The month of May has been one of training, training, and more training. The San Bernardino Unit's firefighters and fire crews have participated in several different training events that have ranged from training for unit personnel to regional cooperative training. The fire crews got things underway with the annual fire preparedness exercises. That was followed by the Tonner Canyon "SOLAR" exercises, estimated to be the largest regional cooperative fire training exercises in California.

The "SOLAR" exercises had an estimated 800 firefighters and fire crews members participate in the three days of exercises. Participants came from San Bernardino, Orange, Los Angeles and Riverside counties.

To end the May training, BDU fire engine crews ran through their annual preparedness exercises last week early in the morning before participating in the 26th annual San Bernardino County Fire Training Officers' Association's annual Interface Operations "Preparedness Exercise". The three days of exercises were held on the grounds of the Arrowhead Springs Resort, a great supporter of the fire service.

The exercises focused on interface fire operations and included structure protection, structure triage, hose lays, resource utilization, equipment deployment, aircraft utilization, safety, communications and tactical priorities. The engine crews were given a scenario of a vegetation fire approaching homes in the interface and were required to develop plans to defend the homes.
One of the different events in the exercise was the helicopter operations class. Not only did it include a class on helicopter operations and safety, it also included an actual exercise in which the firefighters were allowed to participate in hot loading the helicopter for water drops. Hot loading is when the helicopter sets down, keeps running and has the water tank reloaded from a nearby fire engine. This can be necessitated if there is no where for the helicopter to obtain water such as a body of water or a portable dipping pond.

San Bernardino Unit Chief Tim McClelland paid a visit to the exercises to see first hand who they were going and of course to spend some time with his firefighters. Seen here spending a few moments with an engine crew from Yucaipa.

The public is reminded that they need to be prepared just like the firefighters. Are you READY for an approaching wildfire? If you are ready, are you SET, have you hardened your home with the appropriate clearance and safety preparations? And as the fire is approaching you home, are you ready and set to GO? Being ready to evacuate is crucial to surviving a wildfire. Read more on READY, SET, GO,

Friday, May 18, 2012

Appreciation from the Community

CAL FIRE San Bernardino Unit Battalion Chiefs recognized by Crafton Hills College.

CAL FIRE out in the Community of Bishop, CA

Thursday, May 17, 2012

CAL FIRE San Bernardino Unit Promotes a new Battalion Chief

The Owens Valley has a new CAL FIRE Battalion Chief. He is Ron Janssen. Chief Janssen has been working as a Captain at the Crafton Station 552 in the city of Yucaipa, California. Before coming to CAL FIRE, he worked for the U. S. Forest Service from 1995 through 2006.

During his time in the San Bernardino Unit Chief Janssen has worked as a Crew Captain at the Owens Valley Conservation Camp, the Administrative Captain at Pilot Rock Conservation Camp and was the helitak Captain at Prado Conservation Camp in the H-305 program.

Unit Chief Tim McClelland says "Chief Janssen brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to his new position. he has been instrumental in several important projects within the San Bernardino Unit including working as a cadre member for the C-faller class, assisting with the chainsaw safety program and working to helping to implement the Department's new Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) Policy."

Congratulations Chief Janssen!

Monday, May 14, 2012

SOLAR Exercise a great success

The fire is reported in northeastern portion of Orange County, California. The arriving units quickly realize that the fast moving flames are a threat to the adjacent counties of Los Angeles, San Bernardino, and Riverside. This area is a four corners section of land where all four counties come into contact. As the original responding engines call for resources from CAL FIRE and the other counties, they and all of the incoming fire resources are advised to switch over to the SOLAR Communications Plan.The SOLAR com plan is the result of the communications difficulties that were experienced during the 2008 "Freeway" fire that destroyed or damaged 314 homes primarily in Anahiem Hills and Yorba Linda. Because of those difficulties, The CAL FIRE San Bernardino Unit, Los Angeles County Fire, Orange County Fire Authority, and CAL FIRE Riverside County Fire Department have worked to develop a specific communication plan for utilization in that four corner area that is of concern to everyone.

Again this year, these departments along with other local fire departments have come together to practice wildland fire response utilizing the SOLAR com plan. The three day event from May 9 through 11, was conducted again in Tonner Canyon north of the community Diamond Bar. The exercise is the same each day and tests the firefighters in communications, tactical fire planning, and actual abilities such as hose lays and line construction.
Fire engine crews and fire crews work together in putting this fire out. On one section of this "fire" this year, nearly two thousand feet of hose was laid as the firefighters fought the imaginary flames over the hills. The exercises also include fire fighting helicopters that participate in aerial control and water dropping in support of the fire fighting activities.

This year's exercises brought together more than six hundred firefighters and more than one hundred fire engines. The SOLAR exercise allows the firefighters to work with other firefighters and build experience that cannot be accomplished in any other type of local training. This is also important for fire service leadership who are tasked during the exercise in a variety of fire leadership positions, providing them with valuable real time training as well.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

CAL FIRE Captain receives award

CAL FIRE Captain Paul Camarena was honored this week by the Wrightwood Fire Safe Council in Wrightwood, California. Captain Camarena was recognized for his work with and support of the Fire Safe Council in their efforts to make the mountain community fire safe. Paul recently transferred to Pilot Rock Conservation Camp as a Crew Captain after a number of years working as the San Bernardino Unit's pre-fire planning Captain.
Captain Camarena with San Bernardino Unit Chief Tim McClelland above and of course Fire Prevention Icon Smokey Bear

CONGRATULATIONS to Captain Paul Camarena!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Smokey Bear helps to open Green City Fair

CAL FIRE San Bernardino Unit's Smokey Bear was on hand to help open the second annual Green City Fair in Beverly Hills. Saturday, May 5th was a great day to show the residents of Los Angeles and Beverly Hills the importance of urban forests and how to effectively recycle.Smokey Bear was on stage with Andy Lipkis, the founder of Tree People who put on the event. There was something for everybody interested in protecting the environment. The event was held at Coldwater Canyon Park located on Mulholland Drive. Yes, Smokey was really in the land of 90210...

There were a variety of workshops and how to speakers for adults and children and Smokey was as popular as ever with just as many adults as kids wanting their picture taken with him. All in all, a great day for learning, education and making new friends.

Thursday, May 3, 2012


Live feed of an inmate fire crew cutting a fire line during training

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Fire Crews participate in annual training exercises

They’ve trained and planned, and exercised in order to be successful this week. The fire crews from the four CAL FIRE San Bernardino Unit conservation camps are participating in the annual fire preparedness exercises. The crews have been training for weeks in order to prove their efficiency and readiness to face wildland fires this year.

The crews are attending the exercises over four days; April 30 and May 1, 2, and 3, 2012. A different number of crews are scheduled to participate each day. The crews come from Fenner, Pilot Rock, Prado and Owens Valley Camps.

The day begins as their crew buses roll up to the tool out area. The crews dismount from their vehicles in the same manner that they would were they on an actual fire. After obtaining their tools, they form a line and check their tools. They are then inspected from head to toe for proper personal protective equipment (PPE). Then their back packs are inspected to make sure that they are carrying the proper equipment. During the inspection, the individual crew members are asked different fire safety questions.

Following the tool out inspection, they are off on a three mile timed hike. From there the crews get a few minutes to rest and hydrate then it is off in the brush cutting a minimum of three hundred feet of four foot wide fireline through vegetation that is thick and up to five feet high. There is history where they are working, the vary ground that they are cutting line on burned in 2003. This is the area of the Grand Prix fire that burned from Lytle Creek in San Bernardino County into the city of Claremont in Los Angeles County.

Following the fireline cutting, the crews hike down the face of the foothills to practice fire shelter deployment. The final training event of the day is a one thousand foot progressive hose lay, testing the crew’s ability to work together in a fast paced stressful environment.

This annual training is supported by CAL FIRE and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. This cooperative program has been helping to protect the people, property, and natural resources of California since the mid-1940’s. Every year, the over four thousand inmates from the CDCR provide hundreds of thousands of hours of emergency response and fire fighting as well as community service and support under the direction of CAL FIRE Crew Captains.

Fire Preparedness Exercise 2012

Our Annual Training is in Full Swing !
See a sneak peak in this news media coverage that aired yesterday at the link below:

A full story is soon to follow.