Tag Archives: fire safety season

California’s Oak Fire destroys at least 42 structures as it burns more than 18,000 acres near Yosemite National Park | Corona, CA

By Elizabeth Wolfe and Steve Almasy, CNN | Updated 8:29 PM ET, Wed July 27, 2022

(CNN)California’s Oak Fire has burned through more than 18,000 acres and destroyed more than 40 structures since it ignited near Yosemite National Park Friday, as fire crews in the air battle visibility issues and personnel on the groundwork steep terrain.

The fire grew only slightly Tuesday — to 18,532 acres and containment remained at 26%, according to an update from state fire management agency Cal Fire.

“Although good progress continues on the fire, there is much work to be done,” the update said. Officials said several evacuation orders had been changed to fire advisements.

Some areas are not accessible to bulldozers so crews on foot cut in a fire line, and smoke from the fire hampered the response from the 24 helicopter units involved.

One firefighter stood Wednesday morning by a spot where they had been able to stop the flames from advancing.

“For the past two days what we’ve been doing is coming back with hoes and … hand tools. We dig out all the smokes and hot spots to make sure that nothing ends up on … the green side (where vegetation wasn’t burned),” firefighter Travis Gooch told CNN’s Adrienne Broaddus. “It’s kind of a relief that everything is kind of looking like it’s holding up the way it’s supposed to.”

Gooch, who is from Manteca, said he and his team work overnight and slept for about an hour on their firetrucks.

“The first night we were here, no one slept,” he said. “So, last night to get to sleep for an hour. It was nice. Everyone is looking forward to going back to camp and getting to sleep for today.”

There have been no firefighter injuries reported since the blaze began, the cause of which is under investigation.

A total of 42 single residence structures and 19 outbuildings have been destroyed in the fire, the update said. More than 1,100 structures remain threatened.

On Tuesday morning, Cal Fire officials said in the overnight incident report: “Fire crews continue providing structure defense, extinguishing hot spots, and building and improving direct lines. Persistent drought, critically dry fuels, and tree mortality continue to contribute to the fire’s spread.”

More than 3,000 personnel are tackling the fire, deploying air and land efforts including two dozen helicopters, 286 fire engines, 68 water tenders and 94 bulldozers, according to Cal Fire.

The challenging terrain and abundant dry vegetation fueling the fire has complicated efforts to tamp down its growth, Cal Fire spokesperson Cpt. Keith Wade told CNN Monday.

“The footprint out here, the acreage of available fuels to burn when the fire gets going, along with the available topography — the canyons, the drainages — the wind that flows through these areas, can make the fire behavior erratic and it can explode … the ferociousness of that fire at times can be intense,” Wade said.

The Oak Fire is the largest of California’s fire season so far, Cal Fire data shows. But it remains relatively small compared to other California wildfires in recent years: It’s dwarfed, for example, by blazes like last year’s Dixie Fire, which consumed more than 960,000 acres, or the August Complex Fire the year prior that scorched more than a million acres — the state’s largest ever.

There have been 23 wildfires in California so far this month, according to Cal Fire, but only three have exceeded 500 acres. None have come close to the mass destruction of the Oak Fire, due in part to the exceedingly dry conditions in the area, Wade said.

“I think the real difference that firefighters are experiencing on this one is how dry everything is, it’s definitely been (drier) as the years have been going on,” he said. “We’ve noticed that there seems to be less precipitation, less moisture and the available fuel load is definitely out there.”

The fire’s rapid growth has also made evacuation efforts more difficult, Cal Fire Battalion Chief Jon Heggie told CNN on Monday, noting officials and law enforcement are doing their best to notify residents when they need to leave.

“The reality is, it’s moving so quickly, it’s not giving people a lot of time and they are sometimes just going to have to evacuate with the shirts on their back,” Heggie said.

The incremental progress made by fire crews has allowed officials to reduce evacuation orders in some areas to fire advisements, Cal Fire said.

An evacuation shelter has been set up at Mariposa Elementary School for displaced residents.

Mariposa County has been under a state of emergency since Saturday, when Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the proclamation.

Southern California fire officials have been expecting this summer to bring an especially challenging fire season due to the increased frequency of wildfires and the dry, hot conditions in much of the state.

Heggie attributed the Oak Fire’s “velocity and intensity” to the state’s prolonged drought and human-caused climate change.

“What I can tell you is this is a direct result of what is climate change,” he said. “You can’t have a 10-year drought in California and expect things to be the same. And we are now paying the price for that 10-year drought and that climate change.”

California is among the western states that have been suffering under a prolonged megadrought that has been heavily exacerbated by the climate crisis.

“That dead fuel that’s a result from that climate change and that drought is what’s driving these, what we are now calling, ‘mega fires,'” Heggie said.

It’s not just the Western US dealing with extreme fire conditions. Wildfires around the globe have intensified and become more commonplace, according to a report from the UN Environment Programme. The report’s analysis found the number of extreme wildfire events will increase by 30% by 2050.

The report suggested it’s time we “learn to live with fire,” urging authorities and policymakers to cooperate with local communities to use Indigenous knowledge and invest in planning and prevention efforts.

CNN’s Poppy Harlow, Taylor Romine, Stella Chan, Sara Smart and Rachel Ramirez contributed to this report.

For more information about the Oak fire, 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 bracing for what could be another bad fire season. What to expect as weather warms up | Corona, CA

Jessica Skropanic | Redding Record Searchlight

Much of California is already in wildfire season after an extremely dry winter left vegetation brittle and water levels low. With winds and hot temperatures in the forecast starting this week, and no rain or snow expected in the near future, conditions aren’t likely to improve, fire experts said.

Statewide, firefighters battled 925 fires from Jan. 1 to April 1 — about the same as those dates in 2021, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. However, the acreage destroyed this year is almost double what burned during those months last year.

“Most of the state is already in moderate to extreme drought,” said Cheryl Buliavac, fire prevention specialist at Cal Fire’s Shasta-Trinity Unit. This year’s fire season could be worse than last year’s.

By Saturday, winds pick up to 40 mph and weekday heat will have dried out the North State, pushing fire danger to what the weather service considers moderate levels.

“Vegetation is as dry now as it would be in a normal year in mid-June,” Buliavac said. That’s in part because precipitation forecasted over winter didn’t arrive or dropped less rain than expected.

It’s not just one dry season that’s making 2022 potentially worse for fire than 2021, said Karl Swanberg at the weather service in Sacramento. “It’s a combination of conditions overall.”

Some portions of the North State got more rain this winter than last year, he said.

15.44 inches of rain fell on Redding from Oct. 1, 2021, to April 6, 2022

13.27 inches fell from Oct. 1, 2020, to Sept. 30, 2021

What’s making 2022 worse is having two very dry years back-to-back, both well below the 28.54 inches of rain per year considered normal, Swanberg said. The cumulative effect is stretching out the fire season even longer.

Extremely windy conditions this winter further dried out thirsty trees and brush, Buliavac said. “It’s very concerning because we were under similar conditions the last few summers.” While fire danger is still present in Sacramento and the southern Sacramento Valley, that area appears slightly greener and less dry than the north valley, Swanberg said.

Snowpack levels dropped to 16% of their historic average throughout the Scott River sub-basin in the Klamath National Forest, west of Yreka, according to the U.S. Forest Service’s latest measurements, taken throughout the basin on April 1, when the snowpack is at its maximum.

Less snow means less water for communities and farmers — not only in Siskiyou County, but at lower elevations in Trinity and Shasta counties. The latter rely on meltwater to raise humidity levels and water vegetation. Without a good snowpack, there’s not enough slow meltwater running down the mountains into the valley, Buliavac said.

North coast forecast

Coastal residents are seeing fire risk grow starting this week, too. Temperatures soared into the high 80s, drying out the historically humid San Francisco Bay Area, according to the weather service.

This weekend, strong offshore winds will further dry vegetation, increasing the potential for fire starts and spreads.

Surrounding areas, including the North Bay, won’t fare better, the weather service said. Wind gusts out of the north and northeast could reach 70 mph over Napa and Contra Costa counties late Saturday into early Sunday.

Relief could come Monday, when up to half an inch of rain could fall, the weather service said, but warm dry spells and wild winds will likely visit again this year.

Further up the coast, inland areas such as Ukiah are reaching the low 90s. That’s definitely warm for April, said Jonathan Garner, meteorologist with the weather service in Eureka.

Vegetation is still green, so fire danger is less in the northwest corner of the state, he said.

Statewide in 2021, firefighters battled 8,835 fires that destroyed 2,568,948 acres. Nine of the 10 largest fires were in Northern California, including the 963,309-acre Dixie Fire which burned in five counties, the 223,124-acre Monument Fire in Trinity County and the 221,835-acre Caldor Fire east of Sacramento to Lake Tahoe.

How to prepare for fire season

Cal Fire encourages residents to prepare for fire season:

  • Property owners should consider creating defensible space early in the year, before temperatures soar. For more information go to the Cal Fire website at bit.ly/3x6ttzy.
  • Prepare a “go” bag in the event of an evacuation. If you never unpacked last year’s bag, replace anything that expired: Batteries, food, water, pet food, etc.
  • Make sure to plan two ways to get out of your home and two routes out of your neighborhood.

For more ways to prepare for fire season go to Cal Fire’s Ready for Wildfire website at readyforwildfire.org.

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.

What Winter’s Dry Spell Means for California’s Fire Season | Corona, CA

This winter’s extreme rainfall and dryness might average out to near-normal levels of precipitation. But that’s no insurance policy against fire, scientists say.

By Livia Albeck-Ripka | March 1, 2022

When rain pummeled California in October, many breathed a sigh of relief: At least in some parts of the state, the worst of the fire season, experts said, was most likely over. The following month, however, precipitation was scarce. In December, it rained again, smashing records. Now, some parts of the state have barely seen another drop of water since early January.

“It has been both an unusually dry and an unusually wet winter,” said Daniel Swain, a climate scientist at the University of California, Los Angeles, and the Nature Conservancy.

But what do these ups and downs mean for California’s next fire season? The answer is complicated. Before October, a vast majority of California was considered to be in “exceptional” or “extreme” drought (the highest rankings, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor). So, when meteorological conditions known as “atmospheric rivers” drenched parts of the state in October and December, much of that water was sucked up by the parched landscape.

The hot and windy conditions that followed also led the rain to evaporate quickly, drying out the vegetation that fuels fires. California’s rising snowpack, which provides moisture to the ecosystem as it melts in the spring, has since plummeted.

Historically, California’s fire season lasted a few months during the hottest part of the year. But recently it has become more year-round. In January, typically one of California’s wettest months, a wildfire swept through Big Sur, a mountainous coastal region south of San Francisco, forcing hundreds of residents to evacuate. The scene was “pretty surreal” given California’s wet October and December, the National Weather Service said on Twitter at the time.

But though the extreme rainfall and dryness might average out to near-normal levels of precipitation, that’s no insurance policy against fire, scientists say. As global temperatures warm, even in wet years, hot weather can ultimately dry out vegetation to produce droughtlike conditions.

“We still get dry years and wet years, but we don’t really get cold years anymore,” Swain said. He added, “No matter what, everything still dries out.”

For now, the dry spell has a small silver lining. The lack of rain gives fire authorities more opportunity to conduct prescribed burns that help to reduce the worst impacts of fires during the summer. And fires that ignite spontaneously during these colder months are also likely to be less intense, and can help to avert worse fires in hot, dry conditions. But without rain in the coming days or weeks, the state could begin relapsing further into drought. Last year, historically low rainfall and ongoing drought helped cause a brutal fire season that lasted several months and burned 2.6 million acres.

“I don’t think March is going to somehow bail us out,” Swain said of the likelihood that generous rain in the coming weeks would help stave off intense fires this year.

“We’re seeing bad fire years almost every year,” he added.

For more information about CA fire season, 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.

After years of delays, CalFire says updated and expanded wildfire hazard maps are on their way | Corona, CA

Chris Nichols | Monday, December 20, 2021 | Sacramento, CA

For years, state officials have promised and failed to update maps that show the parts of California most at risk for wildfire. In the more than a dozen years since current maps were released, climate change and climate science have dramatically adjusted our understanding of what might burn.

Now, state officials say the long-awaited updates will land in the next few months.

The stakes for the new fire risk maps are high. Local governments use CalFire’s hazard zones as a guidepost in deciding where new homes and businesses should be approved — or rejected.

Homeowners who live inside high risk zones have to disclose that risk when they decide to sell. They also are required by a new state law to keep their homes fire-proofed — by building out defensible space. The number of homes in those high-risk areas has grown in the last decade. The state’s wildfires now regularly set records in size and destruction. “Fires are burning in ways that nobody has seen before,” said CalFire Chief Thom Porter at an August news conference. “Yes, I keep saying that. You keep hearing that. But it is absolutely true.”

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection last updated its fire hazard severity zone maps in 2007, well before recent record-breaking megafires swept across California. Past mapping focused on geographic hazards such as forests and canyons where fire spreads, according to Daniel Berlant, CalFire’s assistant deputy director. This time, climate hazards are front and center.

“What has changed,” Berlant added, “is these extreme wind events, which carry embers now well past that outer edge [where development intersects with wildlands] into areas that historically were not even designated with a fire hazard level.”

On the maps, which cover all 58 counties, are three color-coded designations: yellow for moderate fire hazard, orange for high hazard and red for very high. This time, CalFire says those zones are likely to be bigger, taking in more Californians and more areas where homes and wildlands meet.

In Santa Rosa, where the Tubbs Fire caused widespread urban damage, homeowner Brian Fies is waiting anxiously for CalFire’s new maps. Fies’ home burned to the ground in 2017, and he wrote a memoir about his loss called A Fire Story. Eventually, he rebuilt on the same land.

“Climate change is making risk a moving target,” Fies said. “Places that used to be safe aren’t safe anymore, and firefighters need to understand and reflect that change.”

New maps will have big impact

Local governments use CalFire’s hazard zones to help decide where new homes and businesses should be approved. Inside these zones, developers must follow the state’s strict and more costly fire safety rules, known as the 7A codes.

Those codes require:

  • Wider roads, more access to water supplies, and more road and directional signs.
  • More costly materials for new home construction, including walls, roofs and eaves that can resist flying embers and heat from fire.
  • Clearing 100 feet of defensible space around buildings; and 
  • Disclosure that a piece of property is within a fire zone when it’s sold.

Local governments have argued that expanding the hazard zones will make it harder to meet state targets for new affordable housing, said Staci Heaton, a regulatory affairs advocate with the Rural County Representatives of California. “The state’s telling [counties] they have to build so many housing units per year,” she said. “Even in the high fire hazard severity zones, they have to strike that balance between fire mitigation and also building these low-income housing units.”

For homeowners within hazard zones, Heaton argued life is likely to be more difficult. Homes in risky areas are more likely to lose their electricity when the wind picks up, she says, because utility companies may target their neighborhoods for planned power shut offs.

And Heaton expects some property owners could find their homes uninsurable. “Once those fire maps get finalized, I think we’re going to be seeing a lot more non-renewals,” she said. “We’re already seeing a lot of homeowner insurance non-renewals in our communities.”

‘We want to get the science right’

CalFire officials maintain that they’re focused on precision, not politics, in drawing the new hazard zones, which were anticipated in 2020. “We want to get the science right,” Berlant said. “Unfortunately, building that science into a model has taken us a lot longer than we had originally projected.”

The update will incorporate extreme weather models that didn’t exist when the current maps were developed nearly two decades ago. But critics like Rick Halsey, director of the California Chaparral Institute, a nonprofit environmental group, say CalFire has long had the capacity to make the maps more accurate and relevant. “To have [the old maps] still hanging around is pretty inexcusable,” he said. Halsey added that the existing maps are both outdated and flawed.

In Santa Rosa, the Tubbs Fire burned the Fountaingrove neighborhood, just as the Hanly Fire had in 1964, and a blaze before that in 1908. “This is what’s so tragic: That area burned twice before, virtually in the same footprint in the previous 100 years,” Halsey said. “And so why that history wasn’t incorporated into the fire severity maps is a mystery to me.”

Approximately 95% of structures seriously damaged in California wildfires from 2013 through 2020 took place inside either federal, state or local fire hazard zones, according to data provided by CalFire. Dave Sapsis, CalFire’s wildland fire scientist in charge of the maps, points out that the state’s hazard maps proved highly accurate in predicting where structures would burn during California’s recent wildfires.

But he also acknowledged that the map for Santa Rosa should have incorporated historical burn risk better. “Our existing model right now works almost all the time except when it doesn’t,” Sapsis said. “And that was a fairly sizable miss.”

Complicating things for the public, CalFire’s maps only show state fire hazard zones and some local hazard zones, but not those designated by the federal government.

Because of climate change, CalFire’s Sapsis expects to update hazard maps more often in the future.  “That hazard is increasing with time,” Sapsis explained. “The fire environment is getting worse. It’s getting drier, it’s getting windier.”

Berlant, CalFire’s assistant deputy director, said the agency would unveil the new maps to county governments “as early as the beginning of next year.”

In Santa Rosa, homeowner Brian Fies says state and local governments should put the map in every mailbox. “In my opinion they should push it,” Fies said. “Not just passively provided, not just it’s available on, you know, Page 312 of the county’s website, but they should push it.”

Fies’ neighborhood wasn’t in a high-risk zone on the CalFire map when he rebuilt. But he’s worried about what the updated maps may reveal. “It seems like nowhere in the western half of North America is there a safe place anymore,” Fies added. “It’s difficult, even in the suburbs.”

For more information about CalFire map updates, 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.

Keeping Your Cords Sorted | Corona, CA

Do you have more electric appliances than you have sockets? Are you solving this issue by overloading your extension cords? With the holidays coming up, it is time to trim the tree and deck the halls but keeping your loved ones safe is a top priority. Here are some tips to keep in mind as you celebrate the holidays the most festive ways possible:

  • When buying cords, look for those tested and approved.
  • Don’t overload extension cords with too many appliances – check the maximum capacity guidelines.
  • Plug major appliances directly into a wall outlet.
  • Fully insert all plugs into the outlet.
  • Unplug cords when you’re not using them.
  • Don’t use extension cords as permanent wiring.
  • Avoid running cords through water or snow to avoid the high risk of electric shock.
  • Don’t run cords through ceilings, walls, doorways, or under carpets.
  • Keep cords out of the way to prevent tripping.
  • If you use too many extension cords, consider installing more outlets.
  • Avoid chaining multiple extension cords.
  • Never use indoor extension cords outdoors. Only use the cords marked for outdoor use.
  • If a cord heats up or is damaged in any way, discard it.
  • Always use cords with polarized and/or three-prong plugs or force a fit.
  • When using cord-bundling devices, such as spiral wire wrap, avoid cramming cords together to prevent damaging the cord’s insulation.
  • Never use staples or nails to attach cords to a surface to avoid damaging the insulation.

It is important that you design a fire escape plan in case any accidental fires arise. Having smoke detectors and fire extinguishers will also be beneficial. Having these simple things in place will not only prevent property damage but will also keep you calm if there ever was an emergency.

For more information about extension cord 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.

Wildfire Season Is Here: Hardening Your House | Corona, CA

With the warmer days, comes the danger of wildfires here in California. It’s a bittersweet kind of season – fantastic for summer fun in the sun, but always a looming stress about the wildfires that ravage our homes every year. Because your home is susceptible to flyaway embers from fires close by, here are a few ways you can prepare your home, in case wildfire strikes:

Roof. The most vulnerable part of your home, roofs with wood or shingle roofs are at high risk of being destroyed during a wildfire. Use materials such as composition, metal, clay or tile. Block any spaces between roof decking and clear rain gutters to prevent embers from catching and remove accumulated vegetative debris from the roof.

Windows. Install dual-paned windows with one pane of tempered glass to reduce the chance of breakage in a fire and install screens in all usable windows to increase ember resistance and decrease radiant heat exposure.

Walls. Wood products, such as boards, panels or shingles, are flammable and not good choices for fire-prone areas. Instead, use stucco, fiber cement wall siding, fire retardant, treated wood, or other approved materials.

Chimney. Cover your chimney and stovepipe outlets with a non-flammable screen. When not in use, close the fireplace flue.

Garage. Have a fire extinguisher and tools such as a shovel, rake, bucket, and hose available for fire emergencies. Also, install weather stripping to prevent flying embers from blowing in.

Fences. Best practice is to separate your fence from your house or upgrade the last 5-feet of the fence to a noncombustible material to reduce the chance of the fence from bringing fire to your home.

For more information about home hardening tips, 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.

Brush Fire in San Bernardino National Forest Stopped at 34 Acres, Temporarily Closes Highway 18 | Corona, CA

By RUBY GONZALES | rugonzales@scng.com and QUINN WILSON | qwilson@scng.com | San Gabriel Valley Tribune PUBLISHED: June 28, 2021 at 1:09 p.m. | UPDATED: June 28, 2021 at 6:54 p.m.

Firefighters on the ground, along with helicopters and planes, battled a brush fire on Monday, June 28, that started when a car crashed near Old Waterman Canyon Road in San Bernardino, temporarily shut down Highway 18 and burned 34 acres.

Update 1: Closure remains in place on SR-18 from 40th to 138 due to #PeakFire. Commuters must use other available routes to get up and down the mountain. It is unknown when closure will lift. #Caltrans8

— Caltrans District 8 (@Caltrans8) June 29, 2021

One firefighter suffered heat injury and was taken to a hospital.

The fire was burning in the forest, said Zach Behrens, a spokesman for the San Bernardino National Forest. There were no evacuations, he added.

The fire’s forward progress was stopped around 1:43 p.m., according to National Forest officials. By around 5:15 p.m., crews had reached 10 percent containment on the blaze.

#PeakFire update: now approximately 24 acres. Highway 18 closure is now in effect from Highway 138 down to 40th street. pic.twitter.com/7YKkN1pgs7

— San Bernardino National Forest (@SanBernardinoNF) June 28, 2021

The fire was reported around 10:50 a.m. off of Old Waterman Canyon Road. It headed west upslope, crossed Highway 18 and moved at a rapid rate, Behrens said.

The fire was determined to be ignited by a single-car crash involving a BMW that quickly spread to the adjacent vegetation, according to Lisa Cox, spokeswoman for the National Forest.

“This is a great opportunity to remind people that parking the side of the road where there’s any vegetation at all is not a good idea,” Cox said. “Of course, accidents happen, but if you ever need to pull over be sure to use one of the paved turnouts along highways like (Highway 18).”

Cox said firefighters responded to the initial call regarding the fire, then learned about the car crash. It was not immediately clear if anyone was injured in the crash or the subsequent car fire.

Authorities closed Highway 18, between 40th Street in San Bernardino and Highway 138 in Crestline. The upbound lanes were expected to be fully reopened at 8 p.m. while downbound will have one lane open through Tuesday morning, June 29, Caltrans said.

UPDATE: Upbound 18 will open fully at 8pm tonight. Downbound 18 will have one lane open at 8 pm tonight until further notice. At least through tomorrow morning. https://t.co/ztEmYA2MzV

— Caltrans District 8 (@Caltrans8) June 29, 2021

Behrens said 150 firefighters responded along with five helicopters and nine fixed-wing aircraft.

For more information about fire safety tips, 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.

Tips to Prevent a Summer Fire Issue | Corona, CA

Now that we are beginning to get back into the social events of the summertime, it is important to remember that there are many fire hazards that take place specifically during these hot summer months. So, before you take off for that camping trip or spark up that BBQ, take a look at some fire safety tips to ensure that your summer celebrations go off without injury of loss of personal property.

Camping trips. If you are setting off to spend some quality time in nature, make sure to pack a fire extinguisher in case your campfire gets a bit out of control. Ensure the location of your fire is clean and free of any grassy areas, hanging tree branches or dry brush nearby. Gather small bits of tinder to spark your fire, then use larger pieces of wood to keep the fire going. Once you are ready for bed, douse the fire with water and sand so an accident isn’t going to happen while you sleep.

BBQs. Especially with the 4th of July upon us, BBQs are some of the best ways to celebrate our country’s birthday. Like social distancing, it is important to keep a three-foot distance between the grill and other objects or people that could be harmed if an ember goes rogue. If you use a gas grill, check for leaks. If you prefer charcoal, make sure you keep things outdoors to avoid CO2 poisoning.

Natural disasters. Summertime is the time of year lightning strikes run rampant. Avoid any natural disasters by keeping your landscaping tidy and your gutters clear.

For more information about fire safety tips, 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.

‘It’s like having gasoline out there’: Grim fire season starts much drier in U.S. West than record-shattering 2020 | Corona, CA

by: Associated Press, Steve Kuzj, Lauren Lyster Posted: May 24, 2021 / 01:14 PM PDT / Updated: May 25, 2021 / 03:49 PM PDT

As bad as last year’s record-shattering fire season was, the western U.S. starts this year’s in even worse shape.

The soil in the West is record dry for this time of year. In much of the region, plants that fuel fires are also the driest scientists have seen. The vegetation is primed to ignite, especially in the Southwest where dead juniper trees are full of flammable needles.

“It’s like having gasoline out there,” said Brian Steinhardt, forest fire zone manager for Prescott and Coconino national forests in Arizona.

A climate change-fueled megadrought of more than 20 years is making conditions that lead to fire even more dangerous, scientists said. Rainfall in the Rockies and farther west was the second lowest on record in April, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

“It means that the dice are loaded toward a lot of forest fire this year,” said Park Williams, a UCLA climate and fire scientist, who calculated that soil in the western half of the nation is the driest it has been since 1895. “This summer we’re going into fire season with drier fuels than we were at this time last year.”

In addition, the western drought is deepening week by week.

In late March, less than one-third of California was suffering extreme or exceptional drought. Now more than 73% is, according to the National Drought Monitor, which is based on precipitation, temperature, soil moisture and streamflow measurements. A year ago, heading into the record-smashing 2020 fire year when more than 4% of California burned, just 3% of the state was in extreme or exceptional drought.

But the outlook is worse elsewhere.

“I think the Southwest is really primed for a bad fire season,” University of Utah fire scientist Phil Dennison said. That’s because last year’s normal monsoon season, which brings much of the year’s rainfall, never showed up.

A year ago, none of Arizona, Nevada and Utah was in extreme or exceptional drought, but now more than 90% of Utah, 86% of Arizona and 75% of Nevada is in those highest drought categories, according to the drought monitor. New Mexico jumped from 4% extreme or exceptional drought a year ago to more than 77% now.

UCLA meteorologist Daniel Swain, who also works for the National Center for Atmospheric Research and The Nature Conservancy, said key factors going into fire season are soil and plant wetness.

“So is soil moisture very low? Is vegetation extremely dry? Absolutely, yes. Unequivocally, yes. Pretty much everywhere in California and the Southwest,” Swain said. “So that box is checked big time in a way that is going to massively increase the potential background flammability … given a spark, given extreme weather conditions.”

This doesn’t necessarily ensure the 2021 fire season will be worse than 2020. Last year more than 15,800 square miles of the United States burned, an area about the size of Maryland and Delaware combined. Several scientists said last year’s fires were stoked not just by hot, dry conditions, but by unusual situations that made a bad year horrific:

Two intense heat waves — one that nearly set a record for hottest temperature on Earth in Death Valley — set the stage, and a freak California lightning barrage provided lots of spark.

The lightning outbreak was the type that has happened only a few times in history and is unlikely to occur two years in a row, Swain said.

“Maybe it won’t be the hottest summer,” he said, adding. “I’m really grasping at straws here. All we have going for us is dumb luck.”

When the scientists see extremely dry or dying trees, they get even more worried.

In Arizona, junipers are succumbing to the 20-year drought and its two-year intensification, said Joel McMillin, a forest health zone leader for the U.S. Forest Service there. Officials haven’t done a precise count but anecdotally the die-off is 5% to 30% with some patches up to 60%.

Until the dead needles drop to the ground, which takes a year or so, the fire hazard increases, fire manager Steinhardt said. “So you have something that’s highly flammable and it’s … 20-, 30-, 40-foot tall and every single one of those needles on there now becomes an ember that can be launched.”

“This is probably one of the driest and potentially most challenging situations I’ve been in,” said the veteran of 32 fire seasons.

In California, normally drought-tolerant blue oaks are dying around the San Francisco Bay Area, said Scott Stephens, a fire science professor at the University of California, Berkeley. “They don’t have access to water. Soil moisture is so low. When you start to see blue oak dying, that gets your attention.”

Human-caused climate change and decades of fire suppression that increases fuel loads are aggravating fire conditions across the West, scientists said.

Global warming has contributed to the megadrought and is making plants more prone to burning.

Normally a good part of the sun’s energy removes water from plants and soil, but when they are already dry, that energy instead makes the air hotter, which creates a feedback loop, Swain said.

And drier conditions lead to beetle infestations that further weaken and kill trees, said University of Utah’s Dennison.

For decades, U.S. firefighting agencies have tried to put out fires as quickly as possible, and that’s usually worked, UCLA’s Williams said. But the practice resulted in the buildup of dense trees, brush and other potential fire fuels.

“Fire is escaping our control increasingly frequently,” he said. “And some of the reason for that might be because of increasing density of fuels. But we also see that these fires are escaping our control during record-breaking heat waves — and it’s the warmest, driest years when we have the hardest time controlling fires.”

For more information about fire updates, 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.

Evacuation Orders Lifted After Fire Near Castaic and Valencia Burns 650 Acres | Corona, CA

By ABC7.com staff / Thursday, April 29, 2021 8:37AM

CASTAIC, Calif. (KABC) — A fire in the Castaic and Valencia area quickly spread to at least 650 acres, triggering mandatory evacuation orders and road closures in the area. By around 10 p.m. the evacuation orders were being lifted as firefighters reported stopping the forward progress of the blaze and reaching at least 25% containment.

Earlier in the day, evacuations were ordered for residents north and west of West Hills Drive, north of Iron Village Drive, north and west of Tesoro Del Valle and north of Copper Hill Drive due to the North Fire, the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station announced.

A voluntary evacuation order had been in place for the area of Rye Canyon Loop.

Road closures were in place for West Hills Drive from Iron Village Drive to the northern Copper Hill Drive entrance in Valencia.

The fire was first reported around 2 p.m. east of the 5 Freeway and northeast of the Wayside Canyon area in Castaic. It was named the North Fire. It later spread to the Valencia/Santa Clarita area.

The blaze was initially described as about 1 acre burning uphill in light to medium fuels. The flames initially were burning near a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department facility that stores live weapons and ammunition. Firefighters were at that time advised to hold back for their own safety.

Within minutes the fire was estimated at 4-10 acres and then spread to 30 acres. By 4 p.m. it was estimated to have spread to 90 acres and then grew to at least 650 acres by 8 p.m.

Fixed wing aircraft, air tankers and helicopters were being used to battle the flames, along with ground crews.

The elevated fire weather danger remains in effect for L.A. and Ventura counties through Saturday amid warm temperatures, dry conditions and periods of gusty winds.

“It’s kind of scary. It’s not uncommon living here in Santa Clarita,” said resident Rob Tapert. “Every other year, it seems like I’m doing this, but goes with the territory living so close to the so-called national forest over there.”

No injuries were reported.

For more information about fire updates, 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.