Category Archives: Fire Protection News

How the Coronavirus Pandemic Is Crippling California’s Efforts to Prevent Catastrophic Wildfires | Corona, CA

Kurtis Alexander March 25, 2020 Updated: March 25, 2020 9:04 a.m.

California’s ability to prepare for a dry and potentially dangerous fire season this year is being crippled as the coronavirus pandemic prompts fire agencies across the West to cancel or delay programs aimed at preventing catastrophic wildfire. From clearing out undergrowth in forests to training firefighters to tamp out flames, local, state and federal fire forces are trying to move forward within new social distancing guidelines, as well as with potentially sick employees, but that’s making their work harder and sometimes impossible to do.

The U.S. Forest Service, which oversees more than half of California’s wildlands, announced last week that it was suspending all prescribed burns, one of the most effective tools for increasing California’s resiliency to fire. The state’s Cal Fire agency, meanwhile, says it won’t halt its vegetation management activities — at least at this point — but it is rethinking how, when and where they’re done.

Spring fire preparations are considered vital to readying California for the warmer, drier summer and fall. Wildfire experts worry that disruptions caused by the coronavirus outbreak will not only increase the fire threat in the coming months but also sap momentum from a yearslong effort to make sure the state can weather the types of mega-fires recently seen in Butte County and Wine Country.

“If we don’t increase prescribed fire, restoration thinning and managed wildfire, we will never get out of our current forest problems,” said Scott Stephens, a professor of fire science at UC Berkeley. “Suspending prescribed fire further puts us in a hole in terms of long-term activities to increase forest resilience to climate change, wildfire and drought.”

Officials with the U.S. Forest Service, which oversees the nation’s largest firefighting force, said they were halting their burn program indefinitely so that communities wouldn’t have to deal with smoke during new shelter-in-place orders as well as for the safety of employees. About 5,000 Forest Service firefighters work in California.

Those conducting prescribed burns routinely travel in groups to burn sites, often across long distances. The work itself is done in crews of up to 20 members. Health experts have advised people to stay at least 6 feet away from others to prevent spread of the highly contagious coronavirus, and the White House has issued guidelines discouraging gatherings of more than 10.

The suspension of the burn program comes as the federal government, in concert with states like California, was beginning to initiate new, aggressive goals for prescribed fire in response to deadly blazes like the 2018 Camp Fire, which killed 85 people. Such infernos have helped put a spotlight on the perilous, overgrown condition of the nation’s forests, and burning off the thick brush and dead trees has proved a cost-effective solution.

“A lot of people were looking forward to this year being a ramping up of prescribed fire,” said Malcolm North, a professor of plant sciences at UC Davis who works with the U.S. Forest Service in the Sierra Nevada. “My concern now is that we’re going to be more reactive to fire than proactive.”

In response to the pandemic, the U.S. Forest Service has also called off in-person fire training through at least April 3 and canceled meetings where planning and risk assessment is done for fire season.

Like many businesses, the federal agency has moved many work discussions and training sessions online. However, surveying the landscape for fire danger and learning how to drive a fire engine are tough to do via Zoom.

“Training that cannot be done virtually will either be conducted in smaller groups or a waiver may be given until the training can be completed at a later date,” said Jonathan Groveman, spokesman for the Pacific Southwest Region of the Forest Service, in a statement to The Chronicle.

The biggest challenge may lie ahead as making adjustments, including social distancing, only gets harder come fire season. It’s a reality that fire officials have just begun to ponder.

The big wildfires that burn in California typically draw hundreds, if not thousands, of firefighters into densely packed tent cities, where they work, eat and sleep together for weeks. Norovirusoutbreaks are common, and the more severe coronavirus would probably find ripe breeding grounds there.

If the virus continues to spread, as many medical experts expect, some firefighters might be too sick to make it to the front lines. Already, local fire departments have begun to report that some of their employees are infected by the virus or showing symptoms of the corresponding illness, COVID-19.

“The thing I worry about is firefighter health and wellness,” said Kelly Martin, the recently retired chief of Yosemite National Park’s fire program. “Our firefighting workforce is already stretched to the max in terms of the year-to-year response to these large fires where whole communities are being destroyed. The firefighters are already seeing a toll.”

Martin advises that residents in rural and wooded areas prepare for a less robust response from fire agencies this year. She encourages more home hardening for wildfire and clearing more vegetation around houses. “Don’t always count on the helicopters and the air tankers and the firefighters to be there,” she said.

In Grass Valley (Nevada County), a community in the Sierra foothills that has come together in recent years to address the area’s high fire risk, residents are trying to continue neighborhood fire-prevention work despite the obstacles posed by the coronavirus.

“We’re not going to have our April meeting, and we don’t know about May,” said Susan Rogers, 68, an organizing member of the Nevada County Coalition of Firewise Communities. “But we can put stuff on our website and link people to it. That’s how we’ll keep people updated for now.”

Officials at Cal Fire say they’re also continuing to help communities get prepared. They don’t plan to stop their house-to-house safety inspections, which they do thousands of each spring, nor curtail the work of crews that trim trees and cut fire breaks around homes.

Cal Fire’s academies for new and seasonal firefighters will go on as well. The agency expects to have close to 7,000 total firefighters at work during peak season. “We don’t know what’s going to happen, but rest assured, we will respond accordingly,” said Scott McLean, spokesman for Cal Fire. “That is our job.”

Kurtis Alexander is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: kalexander@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @kurtisalexander

For more information about our services, call CJ Suppression at 888-821-2334 or visit the website at www.cjsuppression.com.

CJ Suppression proudly serves Corona, CA and all surrounding areas.

Do You Have a Fire Escape Plan? | Corona, CA

Now that we have been sequestered to our homes, it’s a good time to ask yourself – what happens if there’s a fire? Are you and your family safe? One way to ensure that you and your loved ones are safe is to have a fire escape plan set in place.

Yes, having smoke alarms and fire extinguishers are necessary features for every home, but there are times when a fire spreads so quickly, you need to get out of the house as fast as you can to ensure everyone is safe. Because smoke alarms don’t activate until the smoke reaches their sensors, they don’t leave a whole lot of time to get out. If you have a designated route for each room to take, and you practice fire drills occasionally, the chances of you making it out safe and sound rise dramatically. After all, remaining calm is the best advice to have when a fire breaks out. Knowing what you are doing will help you do just that. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when designing your fire escape plan:

  • Use a floor plan to designate two escape routes per room.
  • Have a smoke alarm in every sleeping room and on every floor.
  • Keep routes clear and windows easy to open.
  • Choose a meeting place a safe distance away from your home.
  • Make sure your street numbers can be easily seen by the fire department and memorize the phone number of the fire department.
  • If your windows have security bars, make sure there are emergency release devices inside.
  • If there are babies or family members with mobility issues, make sure everyone can pitch in to help ensure they are safe as well.

For more information about our services, call CJ Suppression at 888-821-2334 or visit the website at www.cjsuppression.com.

CJ Suppression proudly serves Corona, CA and all surrounding areas.

Refinery Fire in Metro Los Angeles Controlled by Firefighters | Corona, CA

CARSON, Calif. (AP) – Firefighters have controlled a fire at a large refinery in metro Los Angeles.

Massive flames could be seen burning from the Marathon Petroleum Corporation located 13 miles south of downtown Los Angeles. (Source: KABC/CNN)

The fire erupted late Tuesday at the Marathon Petroleum refinery in the city of Carson.

Firefighters were still pouring water onto part of the refinery early Wednesday, but large flames from the fire had disappeared. No injuries were reported. No harmful products were found in the air near the facility.

An explosion preceded the fire in a cooling tower, according to the Los Angeles County Fire Department. The department said the fire sparked about 10:50 p.m. Crews confined the fire and shut off the fuel supply around 1 a.m. Wednesday, according to a tweet from the fire department. Authorities could not immediately say what sparked the fire.

Marathon is the largest refinery on the West Coast and the company’s website says the refinery has a crude oil capacity of 363,000 barrels daily.

Copyright 2020 Associated Press. All rights reserved. Gray Media Group, Inc., contributed to this report.

For more information about our services, call CJ Suppression at 888-821-2334 or visit the website at www.cjsuppression.com.

CJ Suppression proudly serves Corona, CA and all surrounding areas.

Fire at West L.A. High-Rise Sends Residents Scrambling for Safety; Two Critically Injured | Corona, CA

By Hannah Fry, Alejandra Reyes-Velarde, Luke Money, Sonja Sharp

JAN. 29, 2020 9:54 PM

A fire broke out Wednesday morning in a 25-story Westside residential building, sending residents climbing out windows and fleeing to the rooftop to escape the flames. The blaze, which erupted on the sixth floor at the Barrington Plaza apartments in the 11700 block of Wilshire Boulevard, was reported shortly after 8:30 a.m. by fire crews, who were tending a nearby blaze that had begun earlier.

At least 300 firefighters responded to help battle the fire and evacuate residents inside the building. Eleven residents were injured; seven were sent to a hospital for treatment, including a 3-month-old baby, and four were treated at the scene. Most were suffering from smoke inhalation. Two firefighters suffered minor burns.

One 30-year-old man required CPR and was listed in grave condition Wednesday afternoon, and another 30-year-old man was in critical condition, according to Los Angeles Fire Capt. Erik Scott. “The preliminary information is the two most critically injured … were both in the unit of fire origin,” Scott said.

Fire officials initially reported that some people had jumped from the building to escape the flames. Authorities later clarified that two people contemplated jumping but were rescued by fire officials. Residents crawled on their bellies through thick smoke to escape. One man was seen clinging to a ledge before a fire ladder was hoisted up to him. “This could have been much worse,” Scott said.

Fire officials said residents won’t be allowed back into the building overnight while they investigate the blaze, which was deemed suspicious.

Firefighters took an unconventional approach in battling the flames, hosing the building from the outside in an effort to cool the units before allowing firefighters to tackle the flames inside. The bulk of the fire was on the sixth floor of the 240-unit high-rise, though three other levels were damaged by smoke, officials said.

While some crews focused on the fire inside, others were tasked with evacuations. At least 15 people, some in bathrobes, were airlifted to safety from the building’s rooftop. Officials said it was the first time the fire chopper had been used in rescue efforts. “This was a herculean effort by the members of the Los Angeles Fire Department,” said Fire Chief Ralph Terrazas. “It takes a lot of coordination, and our resources did a good job.”

After an intense, hourlong battle that was made more challenging by strong winds gusting up to 35 mph, firefighters were able to knock down the flames shortly before 10 a.m. Deputy Police Chief Justin Eisenberg said the Los Angeles Police Department and arson investigators were studying the blaze to determine whether it was criminal or accidental. No one has been arrested in connection with the fire, he said. The separate fire that started earlier in the morning about three blocks away also is part of the investigation.

Mackenzie Williams, 25, said she was driving to work at Pure Barre — a fitness studio at Wilshire Boulevard and Granville Avenue — about 9 a.m. when she “saw one firetruck pass by me, then I saw two, then I saw 10, then I saw about 20, so I definitely knew something was going on.” After seeing smoke pouring from the building and the helicopter evacuations, she said, “I just hope everyone is OK over there.”

John Tavakoli was outside when the floor where his grandmother lives burst into flames. As firefighters rushed to evacuate her and her neighbors, his initial horror settled into smoldering rage — another fire like this one had burned here a few years ago, but little had changed. Like others, he blamed the revolving door of short-term renters for unsafe conditions in the building.

“A lot of people Airbnb here.” he said. “They party all night — they’re up until 2 a.m. on a Tuesday.”

Meanwhile, he said, safety issues have gone unaddressed.

“Our rent goes up, utilities go up, but one elevator’s always broken,” he said.

Resident Gavyn Straus stood barefoot on the sidewalk, holding a towel around his American-flag bathing suit as he watched a Sheriff’s Department helicopter hoisting stranded neighbors off the roof. He had been in the pool swimming laps when he turned his head for a breath and noticed the smoke. Right away, he leaped out of the pool and dashed up to alert neighbors on his floor.

The smoke “was like a black wall” on the seventh floor, he said. Higher up, he started banging on doors, telling neighbors to get out.

Twins Kristina and Kimberly Pagano, recent UCLA grads, were asleep in their apartment when the fire broke out. They woke up to the sound of firetrucks. Moments later, the building fire alarm went off, and they rushed outside.

Both immediately thought of the 2013 fire, believed to have been sparked by a cigarette. The building still allows residents to smoke in their units on designated floors, which the sisters had toured before moving in. Like others, they said the building hosts a large number of short-term visitors.

“We always see people with luggage,” Kristina said.

“It’s like a hotel,” Kimberly agreed.

Officials have said that there is no indication the fire was caused by anyone smoking inside or that it broke out in a unit rented as an Airbnb. The building is covered by L.A.’s Rent Stabilization Ordinance, which limits annual rent increases for tenants, but some of its units are exempt from that law, according to housing department spokeswoman Sandra Mendoza. Under an ordinance that went into effect last year, Angelenos cannot rent out their apartments for short stays if they live in a rent-stabilized unit.

The 2013 fire erupted on the 11th floor of the building, displacing up to 150 residents and injuring two people. It also raised concerns about a lack of sprinkler systems in some buildings in Los Angeles. Barrington Plaza was not equipped with a sprinkler system at the time. Because it was built nearly 60 years ago, it does not fall under state regulations later adopted that forced buildings taller than 75 feet to include such fire-suppression systems unless granted an exemption.

Los Angeles has a loophole in its fire code that allows 71 residential high-rises to house tenants despite having no fire sprinklers in the buildings. The structures were built between 1943 and 1974, when new codes required sprinklers.

Deputy Chief Armando Hogan said Wednesday the building still does not have sprinklers. There have been repeated attempts to require older buildings to install sprinkler systems, including a push after Barrington Plaza’s last fire, but landlords at the time argued they would cost too much.

A year ago, the City Council again tabled a proposal to require sprinklers in all buildings. One of the sponsors of the measure said the issue lost momentum amid opposition from landlords, but Councilman Mike Bonin said he will reintroduce a mandate for sprinklers in light of the latest blaze.

Curtis Massey, chief executive of fire safety consulting company Massey Emergency Management, said the sprinkler systems typically seen in modern high-rises quickly douse flames before they have a chance to spread. “It’s like an on-duty 24-hour firefighter that’s able to respond faster in most circumstances to a fire than the building staff or the fire department,” said Massey, whose company has worked on fire preparedness plans for Century Plaza and the Wilshire Grand Center.

Modern fire safety features also include elevator and stairwell-pressurization systems that keep the smoke out of those areas, he said.

In 2014, a group of tenants in the high-rise sued the building’s corporate owner for negligence. According to residents, several fire alarms failed to sound in Barrington Plaza as the October 2013 blaze spread. A door to the roof was locked and the stairwells filled with choking smoke, tenants said. “The conditions at the supposedly high-end apartment building were atrocious,” attorney Mark Geragos said at the time.

Resident Ivo Gerscovich’s 2-year-old daughter and father-in-law were found unconscious in a smoke-filled stairwell above the 20th floor during the 2013 fire. “It’s a deathtrap,” Gerscovich said then. “It’s totally insane and indefensible.” Ben Meiselas, an attorney with Geragos’ firm, said the building “is a relic of the 1960s.” “It conformed to codes of the 1960s, and since that time, they’ve availed themselves through grandfather clauses of the building codes of that bygone era,” he said.

Meiselas said building owners should be required to prominently display whether their structures adhere to current codes. “You have this building that advertises itself as a class-A luxury building, but back in 2013, at least, it really had fundamental safety issues,” he said.

Residents said that they weren’t aware of any additional safety measures. “This situation really scares me,” said Ploy Pengsomboon, who was able to evacuate from her ninth-floor unit only after smelling smoke and hearing firetruck sirens. “I’m scared if one day I’m in a deep sleep and something like this happens. I didn’t get a chance to prepare. They should tell everyone to get out and shouldn’t let us learn about it ourselves.”

The blaring of a fire alarm woke 84-year-old Dan Karzen, who has lived in Barrington Plaza for 20 years. “I had my pajamas on, so I had to hurry to put some clothes on, grab my phone and walk out the door of my 16th-floor apartment,” Karzen said. “I knew it was bad because there was all this smoke.”

After leaving the building, he crossed the street to a strip mall, where he stopped to await word from fire officials. “I don’t know when we’re going to go back in, and I don’t want to leave because all my stuff is up there,” he said.

When Liz Bowers was jolted awake by sirens, she smelled smoke and immediately thought it couldn’t be another fire, remembering the 2013 blaze. But when she looked out her window, there it was. “I was like … it’s Tower A again,” she said. She had a clear view of the flames and clouds of black smoke. She could hear screams and windows blowing out from the heat of the flames. Bowers ran downstairs to the public pool area shared by the two buildings and continued watching as firefighters worked to quell the flames and rescue residents. After witnessing the dramatic events, she decided she’d had enough. She needs to move out.

Bowers thought about all the times she could smell cigarette and marijuana smoke from her apartment, the result of little oversight from building managers, she said. She spent three years knocking on the leasing office’s door, writing letters and making phone calls to building managers. Eventually, she gave up. “They should have put sprinklers in after the [2013] fire,” she said. “They let everybody smoke. There’s a lot of Airbnb [rentals]. You get all these people coming into party and smoke pot. The landlords don’t care.”

Times staff writers Matt Stiles, Dakota Smith, Colleen Shalby, Andrew J. Campa, Emily Alpert Reyes, James Rainey and Matthew Ormseth contributed to this report.

For more information about our services, call CJ Suppression at 888-821-2334 or visit the website at www.cjsuppression.com.

CJ Suppression proudly serves Corona, CA and all surrounding areas.

How to Design a Fire Protection System | Corona, CA

We all want to be safe from the harm and damage that comes from a fire. No one wants to lose anything or anyone due to an accidental fire. Unfortunately, this can’t be helped – they’re called accidents for a reason. This is why it is so important to be prepared, in case one of these accidents arises. One way to do this is by designing a fire protection for you and your valuables. But, where does one even begin?

The design of fire protection systems is a multi-step process beginning with an assessment of the environment to be protected. Factors both internal and external to the environment are considered. We begin with a site survey of the facility then provide the client with appropriate alternatives based on an assessment of the fire protection and life safety needs. Once a decision is made on the specific type of system required, we assign a primary engineer to the project that then develops the appropriate engineering design.

Our CAD design services include:

  • Fire sprinkler design drawings with as much detail as required and then some.
  • All designs are based on the latest NFPA codes. All schematic CAD drawings include underground fire supply, riser details with location within structure, main and branch line locations, sprinkler head type and location.
  • Bid drawings can also include back-up specifications, water analysis, and hydraulic calculations.
  • Fire sprinkler fabrication/installation/coordination drawings include all compliments listed above including computer generated shop drawings, hydraulic calculations and material submittals.
  • Fire Pump and/or ground storage tank installation drawings with all associated piping and equipment.
  • Special hazard suppression system fabrication/installation drawings.

For more information about our services, call CJ Suppression at 888-821-2334 or visit the website at www.cjsuppression.com.

CJ Suppression proudly serves Corona, CA and all surrounding areas.

Family Puts out Christmas Fire After Kid Sets Lawn Ablaze with Magnifying Glass | Corona, CA

Dec. 30, 2019, 8:52 PM PST / Source: TODAY

By Samantha Kubota

Almost every family that celebrates Christmas has a ridiculous story of how someone got into some shenanigans at some point — but it seems likely that only one Texas family can say that this December they accidentally set their lawn ablaze with a magnifying glass.

Nissa-Lynn Parson was not surprised when her 12-year-old Cayden asked for the magnifying glass for Christmas. She explained he loves reading and science, so she assumed that was why he wanted it. “It’s like a basketball player asking for basketball shoes,” she added.

The family donned their matching pajamas and opened presents on the big day. After the exchange, the kids went outside to try to burn a few holes into newspapers with Cayden’s gift. “We were watching it and everything,” Parson explained. “I was happy they were outside playing together! They weren’t playing video games and wanted to go outside.”

Her 15-year-old was holding a paper that caught fire and the wind blew it out of his hands, Parson said, and into the lawn.

“The kids ran inside and said ‘Mom, dad, we got a little bit of the grass on fire!’” she said. They rushed outside and within seconds, the whole lawn was ablaze.

“We’re all in Christmas pajamas, someone had a bucket of water, my husband turned the sprinklers on,” she said. “We got it contained and it wasn’t a problem.”

The family fire brigade was able to extinguish the blaze without calling the fire department. “It could’ve been a lot worse,” Parson said. “We were very blessed and thankful it wasn’t worse.” The fire even took out a small part of their neighbor’s lawn, but Parson said they took it well. “They were totally understanding and they kind of laughed because they also have kids,” she said.

She believes part of the reason her Facebook post went viral was because so many people can identify with it. “I think that’s one of the reasons this story took off, because so many people related,” she said. “(We’re lucky) it just turned out to be a Christmas memory and not a tragedy.”

Samantha Kubota is a digital journalist and editor for TODAY.com.

For more information about our services, call CJ Suppression at 888-821-2334 or visit the website at www.cjsuppression.com.

CJ Suppression proudly serves Corona, CA and all surrounding areas.

California Wildfires: Homes Burn in San Bernardino and Strong Winds Threaten to Stoke Other Blazes | Corona, CA

By Madeline Holcombe, Gianluca Mezzofiore and Jason Hanna, CNN

Updated 1:37 PM ET, Thu October 31, 2019

(CNN)Firefighters are trying to contain a wildfire that raced into part of San Bernardino in Southern California and engulfed a few homes overnight, and officials are urging more than 1,000 people to stay away while the battle goes on Thursday morning.

The Hillside Fire — which started sometime after midnight in the hills above San Bernardino — quickly consumed about 200 acres, officials said, and is one of at least 10 active wildfires in a state plagued by them in recent weeks.

Strong winds Thursday threaten to stoke the flames further. With gusts stronger than 50 mph expected in some areas, more than 17 million people in Southern California are under red flag warnings — meaning wind, humidity and other conditions are ripe for fires.

In northern San Bernardino, wind-driven flames moved from the hills and destroyed or damaged six homes and two other buildings by 7:30 a.m. (10:30 a.m. ET), San Bernardino County Fire Chief Don Trapp said.

Authorities rushed to alert residents as the flames swept into some neighborhoods overnight, stunning residents who’d been sleeping. No injuries have been reported.

Julien Cooper, 53, and his father were sleeping in Cooper’s San Bernardino home when he heard his phone ringing. He woke up and smelled smoke.

“Ten seconds later, I hear the doorbell and I already know what it is since we had a fire a week ago,” he told CNN. “It was the neighbor saying that there was a fire in the field.”

Cooper grabbed his dad and his dog, crossed the street to help the neighbor’s elderly mother evacuate and met up with a relative at a McDonald’s. Minutes later he returned home and grabbed some valuables — and his neighbor’s home was on fire.

Cooper took video of the neighbor’s house engulfed in flames. His nephew Henri Moser, who lives in Maine, shared it on Twitter. Cooper said he heard firefighters say they’d try to save his house, which had barely survived a wildfire 39 years earlier.

490 homes in San Bernardino evacuated

By mid-morning Thursday, firefighters had stopped the flames in at least one neighborhood where a home burned to the foundation, video from CNN affiliate KTLA showed. But fire was burning elsewhere near the city.

“This fire moves so fast that it’s imperative that people ‘evacuate when we ask them to,” San Bernardino County Fire Deputy Chief Kathleen Opliger said.

“It’s not a safe place to be.”

Evacuations have been ordered for about 490 homes in northern San Bernardino, accounting for about 1,300 people, the county fire department said. Hundreds of firefighters were there, trying to contain the flames, San Bernardino County Fire Department spokesman Chris Prater said.

The fire was a few miles away from Cal State San Bernardino, which was closed Thursday because the regional utility intentionally cut power as a precaution, hoping to prevent fires in the red-flag conditions. The campus lost power at 3:20 a.m. Thursday.

Just to the southeast, firefighters also were battling a blaze that erupted Thursday morning in Riverside County’s Jurupa Valley, prompting evacuations. With county fire officials reporting three homes there destroyed, workers at a pet adoption center prepared evacuations as flames licked nearby brush, an employee told KTLA.

Fires in the Los Angeles area

Thursday’s winds will be of no help to Los Angeles-area firefighters, who are battling several blazes.

The Getty Fire in Los Angeles, which began Monday, is threatening more than 7,000 homes, the Los Angeles Fire Department said. Most evacuations have been lifted, and the blaze is 39% contained.

And about 40 miles northwest of the city, the Easy Fire broke out in Simi Valley Wednesday. Wind gusts of hurricane force — at least 74 mph — were reported at a weather station about seven miles north of Simi Valley.

The Easy Fire quickly consumed more than 1,600 acres in Ventura County and threatened 6,500 homes, officials said. The fire forced school closures and mandatory evacuations of about 30,000 people in Simi Valley, officials said. Three firefighters have been hurt.

Those evacuations included the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, where the former President and his wife, Nancy, are buried. The facility appeared safe by Wednesday evening after firefighters responded.

The state has secured grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help fight several fires, including the Easy Fire and the blazes in San Bernadino and Riverside County, the governor’s office said. The grants allow affected local and state and agencies to apply for a 75% reimbursement of eligible fire suppression costs.

Power companies may be responsible for fires

The Simi Valley wildfire started near a Southern California Edison sub-transmission line, the power company said, adding that it has filed a report with the state Public Utilities Commission.

“SCE is conducting a review into the circumstances surrounding the fire, and will cooperate with all investigations into the origin and cause of the fire,” the company said in a statement.

The company said Tuesday that its equipment likely also contributed to the Woolsey Fire last November. The fire became one of the most destructive in the state, according to the California Department of Forestry & Fire Protection, killing three people and destroying more than 1,600 structures.

In Northern California, Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) filed three reports with the California Public Utility Commission Wednesday indicating that its equipment may be involved in the start of three fires, according to officials.

Bill Johnson, CEO and President of PG&E Corp., told media the company has contacted the state about reports of videos possibly showing sparking powerlines at the Bethel Island and Oakley fires.

A third report was then filed linking its equipment to a fire in Milpitas, California.

“Troublemen observed wire down. They observed two houses, two cars, and a shed damaged by the fire. An on-site Milpitas Fire Department Investigator informed the troubleman that he was looking at the downed wire as a potential ignition source and collected a portion of the conductor into evidence,” PG&E said in a statement to CNN.

PG&E has been under scrutiny in recent years for the role its equipment played in several devastating fires across the state, including last year’s deadly Camp Fire, which killed 85 people. Over the last weeks, the utility has been enacting preventative shutoffs all over northern and central California.

California’s biggest fire is far from contained

North of the San Francisco Bay, the week-old Kincade Fire — the state’s largest active wildfire — has destroyed nearly 77,000 acres across Sonoma County and more than 260 structures, including more than 130 single-family homes, officials said.

It was about 60% contained as of Thursday morning. At the Sonoma County Airport, several airlines have canceled all flights for Thursday.

The Kincade Fire started October 23, but the cause is still under investigation.

The good news: Forecasters say winds in Northern California will weaken through Thursday, and more residents can go home.

CNN’s Cheri Mossburg, Joe Sutton, Holly Yan, Ray Sanchez and Dave Hennen contributed to this report.

For more information about fire safety, call CJ Suppression at 888-821-2334 or visit the website at www.cjsuppression.com.

CJ Suppression proudly serves Corona, CA and all surrounding areas.

Vegetation Fire Burns More than 11 Acres in Paso Robles Riverbed

By Gabby Ferreira

June 30, 2019 12:20 PM, UPDATED JUNE 30, 2019 03:17 PM

A fire in Paso Robles burned about 11.5 acres of land on Saturday, according to the Paso Robles Department of Emergency Services. The fire was reported in the area of North River Road at about 5 p.m., the agency said.

The wind-driven fire was burning in dense vegetation in the Salinas riverbed, and was difficult for firefighters to access, Emergency Services said. The area of North River Road between Union Road and River Oaks Drive was closed for about five hours as emergency crews worked to fight the fire.

A total of 62 firefighters from Paso Robles, Cal Fire, Camp Roberts, Templeton and Atascadero responded to the blaze, Emergency Services said.

Officials initially said the fire had burned about 6 acres, but that number was updated to 11.51 acres on Sunday morning, following more accurate mapping of the area, according to Emergency Services.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

This is the second fire to erupt in the Salinas riverbed this month: On June 10, a brush fire in the riverbed in the 100 block of Niblick Road forced authorities to close the Niblick Bridge until they could contain the fire.

For more information about fire safety, call CJ Suppression at 888-821-2334 or visit the website at www.cjsuppression.com.

CJ Suppression proudly serves Corona, CA and all surrounding areas.

Do You Know How to Work a Fire Extinguisher? | Corona, CA

fire extinguisher service

Installing fire extinguishers are essential in ensuring the safety of your business. Not only will is save any property damage a fire may bring, but it can even save lives. Unfortunately, just having the equipment there isn’t going to get the job done. You need to learn how to use a fire extinguisher in order to consider it a useful tool in an emergency.

Without the proper knowledge on how to use a fire extinguisher, your business is at risk of severe fire damage. Professional firefighters will emphasize that the lack of knowledge on fire extinguishers will lead to a lack of controlling and diminishing a fire. But not to worry – it isn’t a complicated issue, but one that needs instruction in order to protect themselves from fire. Everyone can get proper training on how to utilize the equipment. CJ Suppression offers onsite fire extinguisher training for any size company to ensure proper protocol in case of a fire related accident.

That’s right – we at CJ Suppression know that protecting yourselves, your loved ones and your property are important to you. We are here to not only give you step-by-step instructions, but we can also instruct your entire company as well. There is strength in numbers, so why not have everyone aware of fire safety so we can each look out for each other?

Avoid putting your business or company in danger – we have skilled experts that will work diligently and thoroughly with you on how to operate a fire extinguisher. With fire extinguisher training, you can rest assured that your business will be prepared for any fire event.

For more information about fire extinguishers, call CJ Suppression at 888-821-2334 or visit the website at www.cjsuppression.com.

CJ Suppression proudly serves Corona, CA and all surrounding areas.

Fighting Fire with Fire: Ventura County Crews Use Controlled Burns to Prevent Wildfires | Corona, CA

Jeremy Childs, Ventura County Star Published 1:54 p.m. PT May 30, 2019 | Updated 10:05 a.m. PT May 31, 2019

A new study backs up what Ventura County firefighters already knew: A controlled blaze at a time and place of their choosing can prevent a disaster later. With that in mind, local firefighters became fire starters when they conducted their first controlled burn of the year to get rid of built-up vegetation that can fuel a brush blaze into a monster wildfire.

Controlled burns like Wednesday’s – which cleared at least seven acres of tall grass on a ranch in Hidden Valley – can also revitalize soil and give trainees the skills to battle wildfires. Yet despite their effectiveness, a study concluded not enough controlled burns are taking place in the western U.S. to keep wildfires from raging out of control.

The study by University of Idaho researcher Crystal A. Kolden laid the blame mostly on federal agencies that control large amounts of land in the West.

But Kolden conceded that the agencies’ resources are also consumed by firefighting instead of prevention and that they’re dealing with a public that’s more fearful of controlled burns in the western U.S. than elsewhere. Public concerns include excessive smoke and flames getting out of control.

Even if federal agencies seem reluctant to conduct controlled burns, state and local agencies aren’t, the study found.

“Whenever we have to opportunity to do them, we do them,” said Capt. Brian McGrath, a spokesman for the Ventura County Fire Department.

He said his agency is committed to using controlled burns to prevent wildfires, a sentiment echoed by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, also known as Cal Fire.

Cal Fire spokesman Scott McLean said the state has stepped up its prevention efforts after a series of major wildfire seasons that included Ventura County’s Thomas, Woolsey and Hill fires. “The idea behind it is to provide for the safety and protection of property and bring our forests and lands back to resiliency,” McLean said, noting that the recent drought has increased the amount of dry vegetation that fuels wildfires.

‘We have a lot of work ahead of us’

Tasked by Gov. Gavin Newsom with identifying the top 35 areas where fuel-reduction efforts are needed, Cal Fire has come up with about 90,000 acres of land to target. As of early May, Cal Fire had burned 10,518 acres this year, according to McLean, a number that’s grown in the past 30 days.

The state has increased funding for the efforts, letting Cal Fire dedicate six hand crews to thinning wildfire fuel, and has sent 110 National Guard troops to help for six months.

Cal Fire has also performed about 100,000 inspections of defensible spaces this year, and aims to complete 250,000 through December. Despite the doubled-down efforts, McLean cautioned against thinking the problem is taken care of with extra money and resources. “We have a lot of work ahead of us for quite some time,” he said.

The burden in California may be on Cal Fire and local agencies.

Kolden’s study, published Wednesday in the peer-reviewed journal Fire, showed that in places where controlled burns have increased in the past two decades, they’ve mostly been conducted by state or local agencies. In the same period, controlled burns by federal agencies shrank from more than 90% of burns to less than 30%.

Kolden found that from 1998 to 2018, controlled burns grew in acreage by 5% per year throughout the U.S., although there was a 2.3% decrease in Southern California. Kolden found 70% of all controlled burns and 98% of the increase was in the southeastern U.S., which Kolden said could be why that region has seen fewer recent wildfire disasters than the western U.S.

‘There’s a lot to take into account’

While the Ventura County Fire Department may be sold on the idea, conducting controlled burns is easier said than done, according to McGrath. Choosing the location alone can be complicated. “You have to take into consideration the impact on wildlife, water runoff, the type of fuel,” McGrath said. “There’s a lot to take into account.”

The jurisdiction of the land can also play a huge role, as state or federal land is more highly regulated than county or privately-owned land.

“It’s a lot easier to do on private property,” McGrath said. “We’re under the same protocol as an agriculture company burning their crops.”

Even with a location picked out, unexpected factors such as high temperatures or gusty winds can delay controlled burns. McGrath said his agency works closely with the Ventura County Air Pollution Control District to determine the best days to perform burns.

But Mother Nature sometimes beats firefighters to the punch.

“We had a half dozen scheduled, and the Thomas Fire took them all out,” McGrath said.

Jeremy Childs is a breaking news and public safety reporter covering the night shift for the Ventura County Star. He can be reached by calling 805-437-0208 or emailing jeremy.childs@vcstar.com.

For more information about wildfire safety, call CJ Suppression at 888-821-2334 or visit the website at www.cjsuppression.com.

CJ Suppression proudly serves Corona, CA and all surrounding areas.