Tag Archives: fire safety

Why California Is Having Its Mildest Fire Season in 20 Years | Corona, CA

By Paul Rogers

Firefighters and rural residents have been on edge about wildfires all year, after the Camp Fire, the deadliest in the United States in 100 years, obliterated the town of Paradise in Butte County last November, killing 86 people, and the Wine Country fires the year before destroyed more than 6,000 homes in a similar trail of death and destruction across Napa, Sonoma and Lake counties.

Yet in a run of much-needed good fortune, California has been spared this year — at least so far.

a screenshot of a cell phone

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There are still at least two months left in fire season, and hot weather is forecast over the next two weeks, so things could change. But as of this week, fewer acres have burned in California this year than in any year since 1998, according to an analysis of 25 years of federal and state fire records by this news organization.

“It’s been great. We don’t want to see fire. We don’t want to see anybody hurt,” said Scott McLean, deputy chief of Cal Fire, the state’s primary firefighting agency. “Our troops need the break. They need the rest.”

From Jan. 1 through Aug. 21, a total of 65,360 acres burned statewide on all types of land, including private property, national forests, national parks and other lands. That’s a staggering 94 percent less than what had burned last year over the same period in California: 1,096,033 acres, an area more than three times the size of Los Angeles.

More noteworthy: This year’s total is 83 percent lower than the previous 10-year average through Aug. 21, which is 387,295 acres.

On Friday, as crews put the finishing touches on extinguishing the 600-acre Mountain fire north of Redding, no major fires were burning anywhere in California. In fact, the U.S. Forest Service has rated most of the state as at “moderate” risk for wildfires this week, issuing a map largely colored green while major parts of Nevada, Utah and Arizona were orange and red.

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There are two main reasons for the lack of catastrophic fires this year, experts say.

First, this past winter was very wet across the state. Fed by soaking atmospheric river storms that barreled in off the Pacific Ocean, the Sierra Nevada snow pack grew to 161 percent of its historical average by April 1. Lake Tahoe filled to the top, and ski resorts stayed open until July.

Fires don’t burn in snow. At lower elevations, umbrellas were out a lot, too. Rains filled reservoirs and replenished rivers and groundwater basins that were still suffering from the state’s five-year drought, which ended in 2017. That drenched millions of acres, reducing fire risk.

Added to that, temperatures across much of California have been slightly cooler than normal so far this summer, even though other parts of the world have seen record heat waves as the climate continues to warm. Record wildfires are raging in Alaska, Siberia and the Amazon rainforest, for example, and last week federal scientists reported that July was the hottest month globally ever recorded back to 1880 when modern temperature records began

“We have epic fires elsewhere,”  said Craig Clements, professor of meteorology at San Jose State University and director of the school’s fire lab. “But because our weather locally was cooler and wetter, our fire danger was lower. But in the long term, the trends are showing we are going to have more drought and warmer temperatures. That’s going to affect wildfire.”

A key factor in wildfire risk in California is the moisture content of plants — basically, how much water they have soaked up. The more water they have, the more difficult it is for them to burn.

The moisture content of manzanita and chemise, two plants scientists regularly measure to gauge fire risk across California, is about 20 percent higher now in the Bay Area than average, Clements said.

So even though wet winters cause more grass to grow, he said, when larger vegetation like shrubs and trees soak up more moisture during wet winter and spring conditions, fires that start in the grasses don’t spread as rapidly to shrubs and trees as they do in dry years. That allows fire crews to make progress before the flames explode out of control and burn hundreds of homes.

“There have been a lot of ignitions, but the fires are being put out,” Clements said. “They aren’t spreading as fast this year.”

That’s what happened Thursday when an ominous fire began 15 miles north of Redding, near Shasta Lake. That blaze, called the Mountain Fire, immediately re-kindled memories of the Carr Fire last August, which started when a flat tire on a vehicle caused its metal rim to spark against the road. That fire burned for a month, charring 229,000 acres around Redding, killing three firefighters and five residents, destroying 1,600 buildings and causing $1.6 billion in damage.

As soon as the Mountain Fire started, Cal Fire, the Forest Service and local fire agencies leaped into action, sending more than 500 firefighters to the blaze in meadows, rural subdivisions and oak woodlands.

© Provided by MediaNews Group d/b/a Digital First Media Smoke rises from the Mountain Fire near Redding on Thursday. (Photo: Cal Fire)

Roughly 4,000 residents in the area near Shasta Lake were evacuated. But by Friday morning, the fire’s progress had halted at 600 acres, and crews said they expected it to be out by late Saturday. Three homes burned, but no one died.

“The concern was that we are looking at triple-digit heat with winds forecast for this week coming up,” said McLean. “We wanted to get ahead of the game. There are no flames there now, just a few hot spots.”

An analysis by this news organization of fire and weather records over the past 25 years shows that four of the five worst fire years back to 1994 all occurred after drier-than-normal winters and, similarly, four of the five mildest fire years, including this year, all occurred after wetter-than-normal winters.

There are exceptions. In late 2016 and early 2017, there was a very wet winter. But dry conditions followed in October, and by November, heavy winds knocked down power lines across the state, sparking fires across Napa, Sonoma and Lake counties.

With forecasters calling for hot weather over the next two weeks, fire crews are on alert, McLean said, adding that he hopes for rain in October to dramatically cut fire danger.

“We can’t be complacent,” he said. “We still have a long way to go. September and October are historically our worst months for fires. It only takes one spark.”

Mercury News researcher Leigh Poitinger contributed to this report.

For more information about fire season 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.

When Tenant Improvements Are Necessary | Corona, CA

Having safe and protected buildings are a top priority for any landlord. Not only does it keep your tenants safe, but it also keeps your investment protected. And as time goes on, wear and tear take place and buildings need to have some improvements done. The same goes for fire safety – we need to invest some time and money in order to protect everyone and everything from a fire. Fire sprinklers are a fantastic investment in order to keep up your fire safety, but even this needs to be improved from time to time. It is time to call in a professional.

But where do you start? It can be a daunting task trying to figure out just what you need to be fire safe. You can rely on word of mouth, but can you be sure? When making tenant improvements, it is essential to confide in a reliable company that will get the job done in a timely manner. After all, improving anything will surely disrupt your daily business, so having things done quickly and correctly is necessary to keep things moving smoothly. The professionals of CJ Suppression have years of expertise with tenant improvements and specialize in all of the following:

  • Installation
  • Relocation
  • Rework within improvements
  • Remodels
  • Modifying fire sprinkler systems

Thorough tenant improvements ensure that your business runs smoothly and efficiently. For this reason, it is vital to rely on our company to avoid any complications. Call CJ Suppression in Corona, CA today and ask about how our experience with tenant improvements can help you.

For more information about tenant improvements, 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.

More Than 30 Injured in Texas Refinery Plant Explosion | Corona, CA

More Than 30 Injured in Texas Refinery Plant Explosion

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California

The city of Baytown says that Irving-based Exxon Mobil has requested some nearby residents shelter in place as a precaution.

More than 30 people were injured in an explosion and subsequent fire at refinery plant fire near Houston, officials said.

The fire, which is burning polypropylene materials, started Wednesday morning at the Exxon Mobil Baytown Olefins plant, located about 25 miles east of Houston.

The city of Baytown says the fire is in an area that contains polypropylene material and that Irving-based Exxon Mobil has requested some nearby residents shelter in place as a precaution. Baytown city officials said three people suffered injuries and drove themselves to a hospital, according to Houston NBC affiliate KPRC.

Exxon Mobil issued the following written statement about the fire:

“A fire has occurred at the Baytown Olefins Plant. Our fire teams are working to extinguish the fire. We are conducting personnel accounting. Our first priority remains the safety of people, including our employees, contractors and the surrounding community. As a precaution, our Industrial Hygiene staff is conducting air quality monitoring at the site and fence line. We are cooperating with regulatory agencies. We deeply regret any disruption or inconvenience that this incident may have caused the community.”

The area has seen large fires this year involving other petrochemical companies, too.

In April, one worker died after a tank holding a flammable chemical caught fire in Crosby. And in March, a fire burned for days at a petrochemical storage facility in nearby Deer Park.

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.

Fire Sprinklers in the Home | Corona, CA

Did you know that small fire can start with just a little flame and fully submerge a room in less than three minutes? That’s an extremely short amount of time. But if fire sprinklers are available, they can reduce the risk of death by about 80%, so why would you not install them in the home? It may seem unnecessary, but here are six reasons you may change your mind:

  • The sprinkler heads activate individually. Fire sprinkler heads activate only over the area where the fire is. Only the sprinkler heads closest to the fire will activate to spray water on the fire.
  • Fire sprinklers are activated by heat, not smoke. For instance, if smoke from a recently blown out candle or burnt food from an over or toaster will not trigger the fire sprinkler like a smoke detector.
  • Many fire sprinklers activate within 30-60 seconds, growing and spreading while the firefighters are in route. The longer it takes to put out a fire, the higher the risks for residents and property damage.
  • Residential fire sprinklers are smaller than commercial sprinklers and can be incorporated into the ceilings of many homes. Residential sprinkler fixtures are available in many types of finishes to make them more inconspicuous.
  • Fire sprinklers cause less water damage than a fire hose. Fire hoses discharge 80-125 gallons per minute, while fire sprinklers only discharge around 8-25 per minute.
  • Smoke alarms only alert residents but won’t extinguish a fire. Fire sprinkles can put out a fire while the residents flee from their home, increasing people’s safety and reduces the amount of property damage.

For more information about fire sprinklers, 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.

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.

Kick Off the Summer Safely | Corona, CA

There is nothing more enjoyable than a three-day weekend, unless it’s a three-day weekend in the warmer months. And the kickoff to these summertime festivities is Memorial Day weekend. And it doesn’t matter if you celebrate with a camping trip or just a simple BBQ at home, fun in the sun is the main objective. Unfortunately, with these hot days and warm nights comes outdoor activities and fires, so it is important to keep fire safety in mind while you are grilling those hot dogs and burgers. So, keep these tips in mind at your next summertime event and enjoy your long weekend safely:

Keep water close. Any time there is fire present, keeping a bucket of water within reach will save a lot of time and damages in your bonfire or nearby debris happens to catch on fire.

Carefully choose your location. If you plan on having a BBQ or a firepit, make sure to inspect the surrounding areas for anything that could possible catch on fire. Embers have a tendency to fly away, so a clear area is best.

Clean your grill. Grease fires are some of the worst fires and BBQ grills tend to have lots of grease build-up collecting in the crevices and grills. Make sure to keep your grills clean before every warm season.

Put out the flames. Make sure to extinguish all sources of fire before going to bed or leaving the area. Prevention is key to fire safety so throw some water or sand on top of your fiery fun so nothing happens to the area while you aren’t looking.

For more information about summer 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.

Fire investigators Inspect Properties as Wildfire Season Nears | Corona, CA

By Dale Yurong Updated 2 hours ago

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) — Cal Fire crews and California National Guard troops continue work on a fuel reduction project in the Prather area. It’s designed to create fuel breaks and help keep foothill and mountain residents safe. But homeowners like Wayne Wilhelm are also doing their part. The 71-year-old knows how dangerous wildfires can be.

“I did not want my house to be one of those that get burnt like Paradise and things like that,” he said. “I feel like my house in a fire would probably survive the situation.”

Cal Fire inspectors have been out educating people on the need to clear 100 feet of defensible space around their home. Weeds, grass, even rubbish can pose a potential fire threat and allow flames to spread quickly.

“A lot of times with wildfires there’s high winds and there’s embers blown around by the fire,” said Seth Brown. “We want people to make their home hardened so an ember doesn’t get into a tight space or into a hole, an eave, into the attic.”

Tulare County Fire crews begin their inspections May 1, but Cal Fire inspectors have been visiting homeowners for a few months now.

Wilhelm’s fire season preparation is seen as ideal though he knows many people in the foothills have some catching up to do.

“I have a neighbor next door to me who has a lot of brush, a lot of stuff on his property,” he said. “I’ve commented to him he needs to clean it up even though he physically can’t do it himself, he can hire people to do it.”

Firefighters recommend you do outdoor property maintenance before 10 a.m. before it warms up and not do the work when it’s windy.

As we’ve seen in past years, rocks hitting metal blades can cause sparks which lead to a fire.

For more information about fire season preparations, 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.

Where There’s Smoke, There’s Fire | Corona, CA

Fire Sprinklers SystemsPicture it…It’s Friday night and you are having a night in with friends. You pop a couple of pizzas in the oven, crack open the beverages and start to catch up with everyone. After a while, someone notices there seems to be smoke in the air but you’re having such a great time, you chalk it up to the pizza and go back to socializing. Then all of a sudden, your living room begins to fill with smoke. You call the fire department and evacuate the premises. It is scary, quite the surprise and more of a wake-up call than you would care to admit. Because you find out that the fire was started not by pizza in the oven, but a pillow that caught on fire from a nearby candle.

Many times, a tragedy can be initiated by our own carelessness. One way we can prepare for these flamed accidents is to equip your home with fire extinguishers, smoke alarms and even fire sprinklers. Think sprinklers is a bit over the top? If a fire sprinkler system was available, that sprinkler system could quickly take care of the fire, even before firefighters arrive. Not only will it minimize both fire and water damages but ensure no one was injured. With fire sprinklers going off and extinguishing the fire, this story could prevent a tragic ending. Don’t hesitate when it comes to fire protection – residential sprinkler systems can save lives. Make a call to CJ Suppression for more information about residential fire sprinkler systems.

For more information about fire sprinkler systems, 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.

Extinguish Your House Fire with Sprinklers | Corona, CA

The most dangerous thing about fire is not its heat or the flames, but the toxic fumes and smoke that the fire produces. It makes it hard to see and difficult to breathe, while the toxic fumes deliver a knock-out that could literally kill you before the fire has any chance of getting close to you. Given how fire spreads so quickly and how being caught in one already makes for an extremely stressful situation, thinking about killing the fire with a fire extinguisher isn’t exactly easy. Even if you do manage to get to the fire extinguisher, what happens if the flame is already too big, or that the smoke is already too thick for you to see where you’re going? Enter fire sprinklers

When fire sprinklers are installed properly and routinely checked to make sure that they’re working, fire sprinklers can, in worse case scenarios, give you and your family as much as 10 minutes of cool, clean air to safely escape from your home.

With fire sprinkler systems, you have a means of controlling the flame. They may not be able to extinguish large fires, they are often able to contain the fire enough to keep the damage to your home at a minimum while firefighters arrive.

The added cost of having fire sprinklers installed and maintained isn’t exactly cheap but does add value to your home and insurance premiums should be cheaper. But there are also plenty of other advantages that any homeowner can enjoy if they choose to have a residential fire sprinkler system is installed – the fact that you, your family, as well as your investment, is well protected.

For more information about fire sprinklers, 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.