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

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

CAL FIRE Inmate Crews

Article released in The Inyo Register Newspaper on December 1, 2013 covering the CAL FIRE Inmate Crews and how the program can benefit local communities. 

CAL FIRE inmate crews:
Inyo’s behind-the-scenes helpers

An Owens Valley Conservation Camp Crew lines up for a training exercise outside of Bishop this past spring. Over this past year this crew and four others stationed at the camp spent about 1,832 “crew days” training and 16,088 man hours working in local communities. Photo by Mike Gervais
At Owens Valley’s Conservation Camp, more than 100 non-violent state inmates live and train as firefighters each year. But what many don’t know, is how those inmates help enhance local communities while they’re here.
In addition to fighting wildfires across the state, the five crews from the Owens Valley Conservation Camp handle vegetation management work, general clean-up, construction projects and repairs at a number of locations throughout the county, including at local schools, the Tri-County Fairgrounds and county-operated campgrounds and parks.
According to Battalion Chief Ron Janssen, since January of this year, the conservation crews provided 16,088 man hours of community service in addition to the 6,300 man hours the crews served fighting wildfires this year.
“We do a lot of projects with Inyo County Parks and Recreation, we do a lot with almost all the schools, Laws Railroad Museum, Department of Fish and Wildlife hatcheries, the airports, we do all the landfills, walking the fence line picking up trash there, and we do a lot of projects that are our own, on our station and grounds,” Jenssen said.
Much of the work the conservation crews do is state-mandated care of state grounds and facilities, like the Tri-County Fairgrounds in Bishop. But other entities, like the U.S. Forest Service, California DFW and Inyo County have the option of hiring the conservation camp crews to handle part of the labor load.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Highland Chamber of Commerce welcomes new Board members and hands out awards to Highland’s Best

Click on the picture above to read the complete story by Charles Roberts

The Firefighter of the Year Award went to CAL FIRE Engineer Patrick Aguada In presenting the award, Battalion Chef Jesse Estrada said Aguada consistently went above and beyond the call of duty in serving the department and his community.

Congratulations to all whom received awards! 

Got 2 minutes? Got 2 hands? Save a Life!

Medic Engineer Aguilera teaching proper CPR placement
Sudden Cardiac Arrest happens nearly 300,000 times each year in the United States. Sudden cardiac arrest is when the heart stops beating. Without blood pumping through the body, the brain stops working, which causes the victim to collapse and become unresponsive. The longer that there is no blood pumping in the body, the less likely the victim is to survive.Pushing hard and fast on the center of the chest can help keep vital organs alive until the Yucaipa Fire and Paramedic Department, and the American Medical Response ambulance arrive to continue patient care and transport. Hands Only CPR by the public has been proven to be as effective as standard CPR.
Survival from cardiac arrest decreases by 7 to 10 percent for every minute that passes without chest compressions. This means that YOU CAN SAVE A LIFE by calling 911, starting chest compressions immediately, and continuing until arrival of rescue crews.We want to help train you how to SAVE A LIFE! For more information about Hands Only CPR, CPR training for adults and children, first aid, and other health related issues check online at Also for smart phones check out “Pocket First Aid and CPR” smart phone apps for Apple and Android are also available for $1.99 at iTunes, and Play Store.
Or for life emergency and/or fire related information visit your local Fire Station or check us out on the web at and look us up at CAL FIRE TV on YouTube at:

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Christmas Toy Drive Comes to Yucaipa

The Yucaipa Valley Fire and Rescue Association’s Toys for Yucaipa is once again partnering with the ABC7’s, Spark of Love Toy Drive for Christmas. The toy drive officially begins Saturday, November 29th.  There will be collection bins around town with the Spark of Love posters on them. You can also drop off your donations at any of the three Yucaipa fire stations and at City Hall.

The Yucaipa Valley Fire and Rescue Association annual Christmas toy drive has been going on for more than 35 years and The Spark of Love program is in its 21st year. Together they have collected toys for less fortunate families in Yucaipa and throughout Southern California. One of the key benefits to The Spark of Love and Toys for Yucaipa program is that the toys remain in the communities where they are collected. Major partnering agencies in the Spark of Love program include ABC7, Mathis Bros., Jakks Pacific, Metrolink, Park Water Company Target, International Paper, and K-FROG 95.1, Foster Care Counts, International Paper, and Starbucks

The program runs for approximately five weeks and gifts are collected for distribution just before the Christmas holiday.  “We always need items for teens and the teens you help will greatly appreciate receiving your gifts”, said Captain Travis Paye, of Crafton Hills Station where the project is centered.

Applications for those who need assistance with holiday gifts can be picked up at the Yucaipa-News Mirror or any of the three fire stations in town.  “This year we are asking that folks have proof of Yucaipa residency just to help us keep the toys and gifts local”, said Lenore Will, one of the Toys for Yucaipa project coordinators.  “The first year we thought we did well to provide gifts to 151 children.  Now we top 1000 most years.”

For further information check the follow-up articles in the News Mirror.  Applications cannot be made by telephone and will be accepted beginning November 29th, 2012 thru December 21st 2012 with proof of identification and residency. 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Assisting on the Baker Fire

CAL FIRE BDU Dozer 3540 assisting Orange County Fire Authority (OCFA) on the BAKER FIRE that started Sunday morning. For more details on the incident click on the photo below.

Photographed by ORC BC Pokey Sanchez

Friday, September 27, 2013

Making a School More Fire Safe

A story about CAL FIRE San Bernardino Unit fire crews appeared recently in the Mountain News. The focus of the story is about the crews helping to clear overgrown vegetation from around a local mountain school.  The story does however, touch on the capabilities of the crews.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013


CAL FIRE-BDU assisting USFS-SBNF on Tuesday evening September 24, 2013

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Keep Your Fire Guard Up!

With the extreme fire hazard that exists across San Bernardino County and the Inland Empire everyone needs to “keep their guard up”  as the potential for wildfire grows with the arrival of the Santa Ana wind period. The “Devil Winds” as they are known, race through Southern California primarily during the months of October through December.  However, it is not unusual to experience Santa Ana winds as early as September or into the next year. The fire activity that we have witnessed the past few months has been very active and severe without the driving hot, dry Santa Ana winds.

Many of California’s most disastrous fires have been driven by strong, dry Santa Ana winds.  Eleven of the twenty largest California wildland fires by structures destroyed occurred in Southern California between September and November. This includes the Panorama fire of November 1980, that destroyed 345 structures and killed four people, the 2003 Grand Prix and Old fires and the deadly Esparanza fire.

CAL FIRE San Bernardino Acting Unit Chief Rod Bywater says “fire is everyone’s fight. Fire safety and prevention needs to be on the mind of everyone, 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 “that one less spark can result in one less fire.  By being fire safe, people really can make a difference in preventing fires from starting in the first place.” It is also a good idea to see if the clearance around your property is still good.  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 to mount an effective defense of your home. 
According to weather experts, the Santa Ana wind cycle begins when high pressure from the high desert of the Great Basin 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 winds 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 suspicious report it 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.

 Firefighters need 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, “fire is everyone’s fight” and if you have information about how a fire started, report it to the fire department or law enforcement.

CAL FIRE  San Bernardino Unit  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”.  For more information go to

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

RIVERSIDE: 9/11 remembrance ceremony draws crowd

Twelve years after the largest terrorist attack on American soil, the Riverside community honored and remembered the fallen and first responders of 9/11.

The event was one of many across the Inland Empire on Wednesday, Sept. 11.

For the full story; click on the photo/link below:
CAL FIRE San Bernardino Unit Division Chief Bart Chambers 

Honor Guard members prepare for twenty-one gun salute

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Crafton Hills Fire Academy Honors 9-11

Yesterday, the anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on America was honored by the Fire Cadets attending the Crafton Hills Fire Academy.  The Academy is currently sharing space at the Headquarters of the CAL FIRE San Bernardino Unit while their new facility is built.  The Cadets conducted a flag raising ceremony to commemorate what happened on the September morning when nearly 3,000 Americans, civilians and emergency responders lost their lives.  The CAL FIRE San Bernardino Unit stands with the Crafton Hills Fire Cadets and every other American in remembering the tragedy of that day.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Labor Day Fire Safety Should Be Foremost on Everyone’s Mind

Since April of this year, we have been experiencing burning conditions unlike any seen in years.  The extremely dry vegetation has become explosive when ignited.  We witnessed this extreme fire activity on the Mountain and Silver fires in the mountains near Idyllwild and we are seeing this activity on the Rim fire near Yosemite that has burned nearly 150,000 acres.  The Rim fire has grown to the 13th largest fire in California history.

It only takes a moment of carelessness to cause this
CAL FIRE San Bernardino Acting Unit Chief Rod Bywater is calling on everyone to practice fire safety and awareness in everything they do not only during the Labor Day weekend, but every day.  “It is very important for people to reduce the potential for causing fires in the things that they do near and in wildland areas” said Chief Bywater.  San Bernardino Unit Fire Prevention Battalion Chief Preston Fouts says “90% of fires are human related.  With a little attention to our surroundings and what we are doing, we can reduce the number of human related fires.”

 For this last weekend of the summer, please be fire safe and remember “One Less Spark, One Less wildfire.”  For more fire safety information go to

Thursday, August 8, 2013

One Less Spark, One Less Wildfire

The One Less Spark, One Less Wildfire campaign has reached southern California and the CAL FIRE San Bernardino Unit is all in.  What is this campaign you might ask, well here's the answer.  The goal of this effort is to reduce property loss and the threat to residents and firefighters by reducing some targeted causes of wildfires.  To aide in that effort, a CAL FIRE cover engine from the Madera, Mariposa, Merced Unit participated in the shooting of campaign Public Service Announcements yesterday.  The video shoot was conducted at the United States Forest Service's Technology and Development Center in San Dimas, California.

Careless equipment use can spark a wildland fire

Waiting for the director

Not exactly what you expect on a cover assignment
 CAL FIRE was one of many agencies there to support this important statewide fire prevention effort.  The PSA's focused in the goals of the campaign which is to reduce wildland fires ignited by equipment usage, vehicle caused wildland fires, and escaped debris fires.  Smokey Bear and Sparky the Fire Dog were there doing their best to help get the message out.  Actress Betty White has also volunteered to appear in the PSA's although the veteran actress was not at the facility.

This is a statewide interagency campaign much like the Ready-Set-Go program.  You will hear the phrase "ALL LANDS, ALL VOICES" throughout this campaign as every agency works to reduce human caused wildfires in California. The campaign has come about through the efforts and support of the U.S. Forest Service Region 5 Fire and Aviation Staff working with the California Wildfire Coordinating Group. For more information about 'One Less Spark, One Less Wildfire" go to;

All together..."One Less Spark, One Less Wildfire"

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

CAL FIRE San Bernardino Unit teaches News Media Fire Safety to ABC7

Back lot of ABC7
The CAL FIRE San Bernardino Unit is involved in providing fire safety education to members of the news media.  The news can be local around the Inland Empire or in Los Angeles.  Since the specialized class was created in 2002, over 1,000 members of the Los Angeles and Inland Empire news media have received the important safety information at least once.

ABC7 class member deploys practice fire shelter as class members watch.
ABC7 television in Glendale, California had CAL FIRE San Bernardino Unit Information Officer Bill Peters (one of the creators of the news media fire safety class) come to the station for the fourth consecutive year to teach wildland fire safety to their news and technical staffs.  This year Bill taught a two hour refresher class.  The class included the media access law 409.5 of the California Penal Code that allows news media access to disasters, wildland fire behavior, personal protective equipment, fire ground injuries, vehicle operation and fire shelter deployment.

More than 115 ABC7 personnel attended one of the eight two hour presentation held over three days.

Parked outside of ABC7 Studio B where the classes are taught.

CAL FIRE Camp Crews provide valuable service to the Community

For 67 years, CAL FIRE and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation have been operating Conservation Camps utilizing incarcerated men and women to fight fire and help protect the citizens their property and the resources of California.  The Conservation Camp program began in 1946 when the Rainbow Conservation Camp was established in San Diego County.  CAL FIRE is currently authorized to operate 196 fire crews year-round.
CAL FIRE Inmate Crews digging out mud from homes in the 2010 Christmas floods

 CAL FIRE in partnership with CDCR operates four conservation camps within the San Bernardino Unit.  These camps are Pilot Rock Camp near Crestline, Prado Camp in Chino, Fenner Camp near Valyermo in Los Angeles County and Owens Valley Camp near Bishop.  These camps house a combined total of nineteen crews of up to 17 inmates each.  While the primary mission of the crews is to respond to wildfires, the crews have also responded to numerous emergencies over the years.  So far this year, crews from the four CAL FIRE San Bernardino Unit camps have spent more than 15,500 hours fighting fires in California, most recently during the Mountain fire in Riverside County. The CAL FIRE San Bernardino Unit also operates in partnership with CDCR the women’s fire crew training facility at the Chino Institute for Women.  CIW provides female inmate firefighters for CAL FIRE camps in Rainbow and Puerta La Cruz as well as Los Angeles County Fire Department’s Malibu Camp.  Additionally, The CAL FIRE San Bernardino Unit’s Prado Camp is home to the only inmate helicopter fire crew in California.  The Inmate Helitack program has been operation for more than 20 years.
CAL FIRE Prado Camp helitak crew practices hover stepping during 2010 Tonner Canyon exercixes

CAL FIRE Inmate Fire Crew on the 2009 San Bernardino Fire
 In San Bernardino County, CAL FIRE crews not only fight fire and respond to emergencies such as the Christmas flood in Highland and the floods following the disastrous 2003 Old and Grand Prix fires, the crews also provide help and assistance to other state and local agencies.  Some of these efforts include assisting CAL TRANS in roadside maintenance and vegetation removal in the San Bernardino Mountains, along with project work for Corona, Yucaipa, Chino Hills, California State Parks and Orange County to name a few.  These projects amount to tens of thousands of hours of work annually. 

The crews can be used anywhere in California.  One example was the Christmas flood in the City of Highland where CAL FIRE utilized more than 30 crews from throughout California to mitigate the hazards to the local community.  Statewide, CAL FIRE operates 39 Conservation Camps in conjunction with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.  The camp crews are an important part of California’s emergency response resources providing more than 2.5 million hours of emergency response work every year. For more information about the Camp Program you can go to



Friday, July 5, 2013

CAL FIRE loses one of their own

Fire Apparatus Engineer/Paramedic
Christopher Douglas
Riverside – CAL FIRE Fire Apparatus Engineer/Paramedic Christopher Douglas, 41, of Temecula was fatally injured while responding to a traffic collision along Interstate 10 near the Thousand Palms area in Riverside County. He was an eight year veteran of CAL FIRE.

Engineer Douglas is survived by his wife, Amy, and son, Sammy (2). Christopher is also survived his siblings, Martin Douglas of Colorado Springs, Heather Douglas of Denver, mother, Veronica Herrington and family of Newport Beach,his in-laws, Ronald and Sheryl Aitken of Newport Beach, and sister in law Jessica Carroll of Costa Mesa,

Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today issued the following statement regarding the death of Engineer/Paramedic Christopher Douglas:
“Anne and I were saddened to learn of the death of Engineer Christopher Douglas. Our thoughts are with his family, friends and fellow state firefighters.”
The CAL FIRE San Bernardino Unit shares in the sadness of the tragic loss today of Fire Apparatus Engineer/Paramedic Christopher Douglas. Our prayers go out to his family and friends.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Serial Arsonist Charged With 13 Counts of Arson

Riverside County District Attorney Paul Zellerbach announced this morning at a news conference that accused serial arsonist Steven Taylor Rutherford has been charged with 13 counts of arson.  District Attorney Zellerbach was accompanied on the podium by San Bernardino County District Attorney Mike Ramos, CAL FIRE South Region Chief Dale Hutchinson, Riverside County Fire/CAL FIRE Riverside Unit Chief John Hawkins and prosecuting attorney Amy Zeta.

L to R Prosecuting Attorney Amy Zeta, Chief John Hawkins, S.B. Co. D.A. Mike Ramos, Riverside Co. D.A. Paul Zellerbach and Region Chief Dale Hutchinson

Riverside Co. D.A,. Paul Zellerbach and S.B. Co. D.A. Mike Ramos talk with Prosecuting Attorney Amy Zeta
CAL FIRE South Area Region Chief Dale Hutchinson and CAL FIRE/Riverside CO. Fire Chief John Hawkins talk with Riverside Co. D.A. Paul Zellerbach
The 13 counts include igniting the Mill Fire that burned from Highway 38 in the City of Redlands across the hills into the City of Yucaipa.  One home sustained moderate damage to its interior.  Other charges include fires set between September 6, 2011 and June 28, 2013 (Mill Fire).  The locations of the fires were primarily in the Banning Pass area. 
Map of locations where accused arsonist Steven Rutherford set fires
Riverside District Attorney Paul Zallerbach said that most crimes are targeted crimes.  However, "arson is an indescriminate crime and the arsonist knows that."  Riverside County Fire Chief John Hawkins told the news media that "we are all partners"  in investigating and prosecuting arsonists.  CAL FIRE South Region Chief Dale Hutchinson said arson fires can be very damaging "arsonists put everyone at risk." He continued saying that CAL FIRE works deligently to investigate and prosecute arson and negligent caused fires.  San Bernardino County District Attorney Mike Ramos said " arsonists are cowards. They lite and run."

Accused serial arsonist Steven Taylor Rutherford
Rutherford who is a repeat offender was expected to be arraigned this afternoon.  If convicted, he could face more than 80 years in state prison. Riverside D. A. Zellerbach added this in his comments, "We here in the Inland Empire have unfortunately learned firsthand what serious and continual threats arsonists pose to our communities.  The dangers serial arsonists like this can bring include significant loss of land, homes and even life."   

Monday, July 1, 2013

California’s Zero Tolerance of Illegal Fireworks

As we have witnessed this past weekend, the emtremely dry southern California vegetation combined with record high temperatures is a prescription for wildland fire.  We also saw how deadly wildland fire can be with the deaths of nineteen Arizona firefighters.  With summer in California officially underway and bringing increased outdoor activities, the Fourth of July is no exception. Many Californians and tourists will be celebrating our nation’s independence with fireworks, and CAL FIRE wants to stress the importance of fireworks safety and the State’s zero tolerance against illegal fireworks.

“Every year CAL FIRE and fire departments across California respond to hundreds of fireworks-related fires that result in millions of dollars in damage,” said State Fire Marshal Tonya Hoover, CAL FIRE – Office of the State Fire Marshal. “If you are going to use fireworks, check first with your local fire department to make sure they are allowed in your area. If they are, use only fireworks that carry the State Fire Marshal’s ‘Safe and Sane’ seal.”

California has a zero tolerance for the sale and use of illegal fireworks. Illegal fireworks include sky rockets, bottle rockets, roman candles, aerial shells, firecrackers and other types that explode, go into the air, or move on the ground in an uncontrollable manner. It is illegal to sell, transport, or use fireworks that do not carry the “Safe and Sane” seal, as well as possess or use any fireworks in a community where they are not permitted. If convicted, a violator could be fined up to $50,000 as well as sent to jail for up to one year. There are nearly 300 communities within California that allow “Safe and Sane” fireworks.

“Even with a temporary cool down and rain in parts of Northern California, our fire activity remains significantly higher than average,” said Chief Ken Pimlott, director of CAL FIRE. “With how dry conditions are, if fireworks are used illegally or in an unsafe manner, they can easily spark a fire or cause injuries; the consequences to our communities can be devastating.”

CAL FIRE is asking Californians to prepare for wildfires by taking these actions:

• Check that fireworks are allowed in the area of use
• Make sure the firework has the State Fire Marshal “Safe and Sane” seal
• Purchase only from legitimate organizations authorized to sell
• Have a bucket of water, sand or garden hose available at firing site
• Read all instructions before use
• Dispose of used fireworks in water
• Never alter, modify or enhance fireworks
• Make sure fireworks have proper clearance from flammable materials including dry grass and brush

For more information about safe fireworks use, visit the CAL FIRE web site at

Sunday, June 30, 2013


The personnel of the CAL FIRE San Bernardino Unit want to express their heartfelt sadness over the loss today of 19 brave firefighters in Arizona.  One life lost is too many. Nineteen is almost too much to contemplate.  There are no words to describe our feelings for these firefighters who have answered their final bell. 


Thursday, June 27, 2013

CAL FIRE BDU trains with Apple Valley Fire

Several fire engine crews from the CAL FIRE San Bernardino Unit participated in the day long Fire Control 3 classes being put on by the Apple Valley Fire Protection District.  The three 90 minute sections allowed for a larger group of firefighters to participate.  The classes included fire behavior and interior attack, special searches and roof ventilation.

This is a good example of coordinated regional training that enhances the abilities of all the firefighters who trained together.  Present through the day were Apple Valley Fire, CAL FIRE BDU and Baldwin Lake Fire Department.

Firefighters watch as the fire begins to roll across the ceiling.

Another shot of the fire's behavior as it grows

CAL FIRE BDU Firefighter Matt Swendra climes out of the window after a room search
There was a very special firefighter who visited the training exercise today.  He is honorary Apple Valley Firefighter Dominic Cumo.  This brave young boy is suffering from ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease) and loves to visit firefighters.  After his training evolution, Matt Swendra presented his fire helmet, signed by all of the CAL FIRE BDU personnel present at the time to Dominic.  You can find this brave young boy on Facebook; Dominic Cumo.

Honorary Apple Valley FF Dominic Cumo and his new CAL FIRE friends

CAL FIRE BDU crew getting in some roof ventilation practice
This was a good day of training and working along side firefighters and leaders from different fire departments.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

CAL FIRE Arrests Yosemite Lakes Park Area Arson Suspects

Madera - After a rash of suspicious fires, CAL FIRE law enforcement officers Tuesday night arrested a Yosemite Lakes Park couple on suspicion of dozens of arson fires. Kenneth Alan Jackson, 40 and Allison Marie Waterman, 46, both of Coarsegold, were booked into the Madera County Jail for arson. Jackson is being charged with 31 counts of arson, resisting arrest, as well as attempted battery on a peace officer. Waterman was booked on a single charge of arson.

“The Yosemite Lakes Park community has been threatened by countless wildfires over the past several months that we believe were a result of arson,” said Chief Nancy Koerperich, CAL FIRE Unit Chief for the Madera-Mariposa-Merced Unit. “We appreciate the community’s support and assistance as we worked to track down these suspects.”

CAL FIRE law enforcement officers work diligently in arson cases to aggressively investigate and prosecute those suspected of intentionally starting fires. Numerous agencies assisted in the investigation and arrest including the Madera County Sheriff’s Department, Madera County District Attorney’s Office and the Yosemite Lakes Park security staff.

As fire danger remains extreme across California, arson is a major threat to both life and property. Residents should be vigilant in their preparedness and aware of suspicious persons when a fire does start. If you witness someone suspicious make note of the time, his or her physical description, as well as any vehicle description, including the license plate number. Always contact law enforcement, never approach a suspicious person. Anyone with information about arson is urged to contact the CAL FIRE Arson Hotline at 1-800-468-4408. Callers can remain anonymous.

Yosemite Lakes Park is a community of approximately 1,900 homes in Madera County located between Yosemite National Park and Fresno, near the town of Coarsegold.

The CAL FIRE San Bernardino Unit wants to remind everyone to be extra careful during this coming period of hot weather.  Wildland fire ignition potential will be greatly increased with the heat.  Fireworks, illegal and Safe and Sane can quickly be the cause of fires if used improperly or in the wrong place.  Please be fire safe and fire wise.

BLM Bishop Field Office & Inyo National Forest Announce Fire Restrictions

Effective Friday, June 28, the Bureau of Land Management- Bishop Field Office and the Inyo National Forest are implementing fire restrictions. The restrictions are in effect on all BLM public lands managed by the Bishop Field Office and all Inyo National Forest lands, including wilderness areas. “Ongoing drought conditions, well below average rain and snowfall this past winter and warmer than average temperatures have led to very dry conditions for this time of year,” said Inyo National Forest Supervisor Ed Armenta. “We are experiencing very high fire danger and continued hot and dry weather patterns here in the eastern Sierra.”

Beginning June 28, and until further notice, the following restrictions will be in effect:

• NO CAMPFIRES, briquette barbeques, or stove fires are allowed outside of designated developed recreation sites and specifically posted campsites or areas. A list of designated campgrounds and recreation sites is available at local Ranger Stations and Visitor Centers, and on the Inyo National Forest website, Persons with a valid California Campfire Permit (available free of charge at any Ranger Station or Visitor Center) are not exempt from the prohibitions but are allowed to use portable stoves or lanterns using gas, jellied petroleum, or pressurized liquid fuel.

• NO FIREWORKS. It is prohibited to possess or discharge any fireworks.

• NO SMOKING, except within an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed recreation site, or while stopped in an area at least three feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of all flammable material.

• NO WELDING or operating an acetylene torch with open flames, except by permit.

• NO USE OF EXPLOSIVES, except by permit.

Resorts, pack stations, recreation residences and other sites operated under special use permit from the U.S. Forest Service or BLM may be exempt from the special orders, as long as any fire activity is conducted in compliance with their permit. Special use permit holders should contact their permit administrator to make sure they are on the list of exempt sites, or check the information for special use permit exemptions on the Inyo National Forest Website,

Steve Nelson, Acting BLM Bishop Field Manager and Armenta urge the public’s cooperation in helping to prevent wildfires in this year of very high fire danger, and they remind both residents and visitors that fireworks, even “Safe and Sane” are not allowed at any time on public lands.

The CAL FIRE San Bernardino Unit also wants to urge everyone to be not only fire safe, but fire aware.  As the weather heats up to possibly record highs, the potential for wildland fire ignitions increases as well.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

CAL FIRE at the Fair

Day 5 of the San Bernardino County Fair in Victorville, California began with winds gusting to 25 miles an hour.  The winds pushed dust across the area and served as a reminder about the potential for wildfire.  With fire equipment from the San Bernardino Unit assisting on fires in other areas, a strike team of fire engines again spent the day in the San Bernardino Unit supplying support.

This Madera/Mariposa/Merced strike team had been in the San Diego Unit on the fire there before coming to the San Bernardino Unit.  Like the previous day, the strike team showed up at the San Bernardino County Fair.  Once again fair goers were able to see up close and personal what CAL FIRE is all about.
Young man is assisted out of the cab after getting to see the inside of a real fire engine
The firefighters jumped right in, talking to visitors and showing off their engines to young and old alike.  They also helped in the CAL FIRE booth in Smokey Bear Park, answering questions and asking fire prevention and safety questions to the young people who wanted to spin the CAL FIRE fire prevention wheel.  The MMM firefighters along with San  Bernardino Unit firefighters took Smokey Bear around the fair where he made many new friends.

Smokey Bear and friends head out for a walk about around the fair
Thank you to the firefighters and leaders of the Madera/Mariposa/Merced Unit strike team.  They showed once again that CAL FIRE can travel anywhere in the state, and work together with other CAL FIRE members to accomplish a common goal whether it is fighting fire or working public fire safety events.
Have you got your Smokey on?

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Fire engine Disneyland for fair goers

Yesterday, Tuesday, May 28, 2013 was the fourth day of the San Bernardino County Fair in Victorville, California.  The public service area of the fair called Smokey Bear Park had some special visitors.  A CAL FIRE strike team of fire engines (strike teams consist of 5 engines and a strike team leader) from the San Mateo/Santa Cruz area stopped by to lend a hand.

Captain Tony Jones explaining what CAL FIRE does at the fair to the San Mateo/Santa Cruz Firefighters

Looking from the entrance of Smokey Bear Park at two CAL FIRE engines infront of the CAL FIRE booth
The strike team had been in San Diego assisting the CAL FIRE Unit there in covering some of their stations in place of the regular crews who had been involved in fighting a wildland fire there.  This is one of the abilities of CAL FIRE, to move resources from one area to another to meet operational needs.
Flo the Clown stopped by to see what was going on and spent some time with the Firefighters
Because of the highwinds and low humidities in the Inland Empire and High Desert areas, the strike team which had been released from San Diego was repositioned in the San Bernardino Unit in case a fire broke out. The strike team had been positioned at the Phelan Fire Station and came over to the fair to help.

Two of the San Mateo/Santa Crus engines infront of the CAL FIRE booth
This is the only time in the history of the CAL FIRE presence at the fair that so many fire engines have been available for the public to see and learn about.  During their time at the fair, the crews assisted in the CAL FIRE booth sharing fire prevention information as well as providing the public with guided tours around their fire engines.  They also took Smokey Bear on a tour of the fair much to the enjoyment of children and adults alike.
The CAL FIRE engines saying good bye to fair goers as they left
The San Bernardino Unit says thank you to the CAL FIRE firefighters from San Mateo/Santa Cruz for jumping in and helping the fair going public to learn more about CAL FIRE and fire safety.  The six fire engines (one was from the San Bernardino Unit) were a fantastic draw and served to display CAL FIRE at its best. 

Monday, May 27, 2013

CAL FIRE goes to the Fair

Today is day three of the San Bernardino County Fair in Victorville, California.  The CAL FIRE San Bernardino Unit has been participating at the fair for more than 30 years.  For the last 15 years, the CAL FIRE San Bernardino Unit has been the coordinator for Smokey Bear Park. This is an area where the fair allows public service organizations and governmental agencies to provide public information at no cost.

Entrance to Smokey Bear Park
This year, besides CAL FIRE, there is Narcotics Anonymous, Victor Valley Ham Radio Club, High Desert Homeless, Civil Air Patrol, Military Kids and San Bernardino County Victim Witness.
Fair goers stopping to look at the CAL FIRE engine before entering Smokey Bear Park
CAL FIRE San Bernardino Unit's booth
Fire Prevention Education Wheel next to Smokey's Five Rules
Safety Information wall
CAL FIRE photo wall
 The fair runs daily through next Sunday, June 2nd

CAL FIRE in Lease Discussions with Airport Authority

VICTORVILLE • The City Council, serving also as the Southern California Logistics Airport Authority, will discuss a new lease agreement Tuesday between Cal Fire and the SCLA to support aerial firefighting operations for the state.

Read the rest of the story here;

Friday, May 24, 2013

CAL FIRE Suspends Burning Permits

CAL FIRE is suspending burning permits on ALL STATE RESPONSIBILITY LANDS WITHIN SAN BERNARDINO, INYO AND MONO COUNTIES. This is being done because of the extreme potential for destructive wildland fire. The burn suspension will become effective at 6:00 A.M. on Saturday, May 25, 2013, in accordance with Section 4423.1 of the California Public Resources Code. The suspension is effective except in incorporated cities. Additionally;

1. The use of campfires is restricted to campfire facilities located within established campgrounds that are open to the public.

2. Cooking fires with a valid permit are permissible when no alternate means of cooking is available and requires an on-site inspection prior to the issuance of a permit.

3. Warming fires are permissible and require an on-site inspection prior to the issuance of a permit when weather conditions exist to justify the request.

We have already witnessed active burning conditions on several wildland fires within San Bernardino and Inyo Counties and throughout southern California. 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. For more fire safety tips go to

Once again, the Burning Permit Suspension is effective beginning Saturday morning, May 25, 2013 and will remain in effect until the suspension is terminated by CAL FIRE.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

CAL FIRE assists the City of Monrovia

When we work TOGETHER we're BETTER !

Friday, May 10, 2013

Wildfire Awareness Week comes to the Inland Empire

California Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr. declared this week Wildfire  Awareness Week to remind the residents of California of the dangers of wildland fires.  "The conditions right now are what we should be experiencing in June," said Chief Ken Pimlott, CAL FIRE Director.  Chief Pimlott was in the City of Redlands this morning with many other members of the fire service to bring the Wildfire Awareness Week message to the residents of the Inland Empire.

On hand were representatives of the Redlands Fire Department, CAL FIRE, both the San Bernardino Unit and the Riverside Unit/Riverside County Fire, San Bernardino County Fire, The U. S. Forest Service San Bernardino National Forest, California Emergency Management Agency and the California National Guard.  All the representatives were there to support the effort to remind Californians and residents of the Inland Empire of the dangers of wildland fire.

Last week we witnessed that danger up close with the several fires that burned not only in the Inland Empire but in Los Angeles and Ventura counties as well.  Chief Pimlott said "this year's dry winter has resulted in a significant increase in fire activity, in fact CAL FIRE firefighters have responded to nearly 1,100 wildfires this year, which is over 500 more for than average."

CAL FIRE Director Ken Pimlott talking about the dangers of wildfires

CAL FIRE is reminding Californians that when it comes to wildfires, remember "READY, SET, GO!" Being Ready for a wildfire starts by maintaining 100 feet of Defensible Space and hardening homes with fire resistant materials. "It's critical that residents prepare for wildfires by maintaining 100 feet of Defensible Space around all homes," said Chief Pimlott. "Most wildfires are preventable and we need residents and vacationers to be extra cautions outdoors so we can prevent wildfires from occurring in the first place."
Chief Ken Pimlott being interviewed by NPR Radio

Homeowners looking for additional information on how to prepare themselves, their families and their homes for wildfire can visit The site offers tips for residents to make their homes more resistant to wildfires and to ensure that their families are ready to evacuate early and safely when a wildfire strikes.

CAL FIRE Deputy Director for Legislation Caroline Godkin talking with Daniel Sanchez, District Representative for State Senator Bill Emmerson