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