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

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