Tag Archives: seasonal fire safety

Smoke from Western Fires Fuels Dangerous Air Quality | Corona, CA

Over 90 large fires across seven states are triggering alerts over poor air

By Zach Rosenthal | September 13, 2022 at 1:56 p.m. EDT

Dangerous blazes continue to spread across the West, with 93 large fires burning in seven states.

As smoke plumes rise into the skies, alerts for hazardous air quality are in effect in parts of Oregon, Washington state, Idaho, Wyoming and Montana. A special weather statement about hazardous air quality was also issued in east-central California and western Nevada. The smoke is most dense and toxic near its source but has also expanded in lesser amounts all the way to the East Coast.

Idaho — where the Moose Fire, the nation’s second largest, is burning — leads the pack in terms of large fires, according to the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC).

Firefighters are battling 34 large fires in the state, followed by 23 in Montana, 13 in Washington, 12 in California and nine in Oregon. Utah and Wyoming each report one large fire.

In Oregon, eyes are on the Cedar Creek Fire, which has grown to more than 86,000 acres after being sparked by lightning Aug. 1. After days of extreme fire growth, the fire remains uncontained. The rapidly spreading blaze has forced nearly 1,500 evacuations, while blanketing nearby cities such as Bend in dangerously high levels of smoke. Smoke from the fire has prompted alerts in south-central Oregon.

Firefighters are also battling the massive Double Creek Fire in Oregon, which has burned more than 155,000 acres and is currently the nation’s largest blaze. That inferno has prompted the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality to issue an air quality advisory for the northeastern parts of the state.

Fire and heavy smoke conditions in the West are unlikely to abate anytime soon, as hot and dry conditions have left forests ripe for fire growth. Red-flag warnings have been hoisted for much of eastern Wyoming because of hot, dry conditions conducive to fires.

Hazardous air quality conditions — air quality index (AQI) levels of 301-plus — have been observed in at least five states, including California, where the Mosquito Fire continues to burn between Sacramento and Reno, Nev., in the Sierra Nevada.

The Mosquito Fire has forced officials to evacuate more than 11,000 people. At least 25 homes have already been destroyed by the blaze, which has torched more than 48,700 acres and is just 16 percent contained.

Other active and dangerous fires in California include the Fairview Fire, which still burns close to the town of Hemet, though it is now 56 percent contained. Downpours from the remnants of Tropical Storm Kay have assisted crews in containing that blaze. That fire has burned more than 28,000 acres and killed two people who were trying to flee the blaze.

As more fires in the West are ignited and active fires expand, the smoke can travel as far as the East Coast and in the past has even blown into continental Europe. Wildfire smoke has been found to be surprisingly harmful to people even far from the source. A study published in 2021 found that three-quarters of smoke-related cases of asthma visits to emergency departments and deaths occurred east of the Rocky Mountains.

“Smoke is not just a Western problem,” said Katelyn O’Dell, lead author of the study and postdoctoral research scientist at George Washington University.

O’Dell suggested there may be a “lack of awareness” in the East about the effects of smoke, “because you’re not in proximity to these large wildfires, and they don’t really impact your day-to-day.”

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration described an “expansive area of light smoke” covering most of the Lower 48 state, except for the far southeast and far southwest on Monday. However, computer simulations indicate much of the smoke in the eastern United States is at relatively high altitudes, meaning it shouldn’t substantially compromise air quality near the ground. But NOAA reported some “moderate to thick smoke” had already reached as far east as Colorado, the Dakotas, Minnesota and Iowa.

AirNow.gov, which monitors pollution across the country, showed air quality had worsened to “moderate” in portions of Colorado, including Denver, as well as northern Minnesota and western Iowa on Tuesday.

A total of 49,820 wildfires in the United States have burned 6,726,028 acres this year; both of these numbers are ahead of the 10-year average through Sept. 13.

Research has shown that human-caused climate change has contributed to an increase in the frequency of large fires and the size of the area burned by Western wildfires, as fire seasons become longer and more dangerous.

Jason Samenow 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.

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.

Keeping Safe on Independence Day | Corona, CA

With Independence Day just around the corner, it’s important that we celebrate in the most American way possible. BBQs, block parties and parades are in abundance, but it is the nighttime sky that brings the real party. It’s time for the fireworks…

According to the American Pyrotechnics Association (APA), 260 million pounds of fireworks are lit by us regular joes, and 180 of us end up in the emergency room afterwards. And these injuries tend to revolve around the hands, fingers, legs, face, and even eyes! While we love to spark up the colorful firelights, it really isn’t the safest thing to do. Professional shows are always best. But if you insist, here are some tips to keep in mind to keep you and yours safe:

  • Make sure fireworks are legal in your area.
  • Always read and follow label instructions.
  • Never allow children to play with sparklers or ignite fireworks. Use glow sticks instead.
  • Clear a smooth, flat surface away from houses, dry leaves and flammable materials.
  • Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap.
  • Never place any part of your body directly over a firework when lighting the fuse. Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting a firework (only light one at a time) and wear eye protection.
  • Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them from metal or glass containers.
  • Never try to re-light fireworks that have not ignited fully.
  • Soak all spent fireworks in a bucket of water before throwing them in the trash can – never a fire pit.
  • Avoid buying fireworks packaged in brown paper. This is often a sign they were made for professional use only.

For more information about 4th of July 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.

California warned of critical fire weather danger as interior swelters in high heat | Corona, CA

A large swath of the interior of California was warned of wildfire danger and high heat on Tuesday.

Red flag warnings of critical fire weather conditions were in effect in the Sacramento Valley and foothills of the coastal range and the Sierra Nevada due to northerly winds and low relative humidity, the Sacramento weather office said.

The National Weather Service also said much of the same area would be under a heat advisory from noon Tuesday until 11 p.m. Wednesday. Predicted high temperatures ranged from 95 degrees to 105 degrees.

Heat advisories will extend south through the San Joaquin Valley on Wednesday.

“Today into Wednesday the weather will be hot, dry and windy,” the National Weather Service’s Sacramento office tweeted Tuesday. “There is a Red Flag Warning in effect through Wednesday morning.”

The San Francisco Bay Area was not under the advisories, but forecasts called for hot and dry weather Tuesday, with near-critical fire conditions in the North Bay interior mountains and the East Bay hills.

Tuesday, Southern California fire investigators were seeking the cause of a blaze that destroyed a large home and five rental cabins near Lake Arrowhead in the San Bernardino Mountains.

About three-quarters of an acre burned in the Hook Creek area on Monday, the San Bernardino County Fire Department said in a statement.

The two-story home and the cabins were vacant at the time, and there were no injuries to firefighters or citizens, the department said.

Last week, a fire near the community of Dunnigan, northwest of Sacramento in Yolo County, surged through 120 acres of grassland before it was contained Friday afternoon.

In the Sierra Nevada foothills, the Golden Fire prompted some evacuations and closed State Route 49, known as the Golden Chain Highway, south of the small town of Camptonville.

Yuba County authorities said the fire reached 26 acres before it was stopped from spreading and was 20% contained. The fire started in a building and spread to the wildlands, authorities said. No other buildings were damaged.

Tahoe National Forest reported that federal, state and local crews were battling the flames.

And on May 11, a destructive wildfire erupted in the coastal community of Laguna Niguel, burning at least 20 multimillion-dollar homes as it grew to 199 acres.

Various utilities’ electrical equipment has repeatedly been linked to the ignition of disastrous California wildfires, especially during windy weather. Southern California Edison has advised state utility regulators that unspecified electrical “circuit activity” occurred around the time a destructive wildfire erupted in the coastal community.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

For more information about grilling 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.

It’s Time to Break Out the Grill | Corona, CA

Now that we are filled with beautiful springtime weather, many of us are beginning to plan our first grilled meals with friends and family. From a campfire breakfast to extra-thick steaks, no matter the time, a bright sunny day is a reason to strike up the ol’ BBQ.

But with these happy times comes with a few precautions. We know that it is supposed to be a good time to be had by all, and not some strict gathering, but these aren’t rules that will change the way you celebrate. Fire safety may seem unnecessary, but there are things we need to keep in mind in order to protect our loved ones from any fire accidents. After all, this is an open flame we’re dealing with – things can happen in a blink of an eye. Here are some tips to ensuring that this season’s BBQs are filled with nothing but happy faces and full bellies:

  • Use only charcoal lighter fluid to start a fire.
  • Once coals are ignited, never add more charcoal lighter fuel or other flammable/petroleum-based products to the fire – the container may explode in your hand!
  • Dispose of used coals in proper containers.
  • Be sure propane grills have the correct setting when being installed.
  • Use grills at least 10 feet away from your house.
  • Keep children and pets away from grills when in use.
  • Dispose of hot coals in proper receptacles – buried coals retain heat for up to 24 hours and may cause a serious burn injury to an unsuspecting passerby who steps on them.

For more information about grilling 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.

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.

Autumn Fire Safety Tips for Your Home | Corona, CA

As the summer days dwindle away and the cooler nights start to make their way into our lives, it is a time that we prepare ourselves, and our homes, for the colder months that lie ahead. We are switching off the air conditioner in exchange for a heater or fireplace if we aren’t properly prepared, it can lead to trouble down the road. So, for you and your family to be well-prepared for the upcoming weather, here are a few tips to keep in mind during these chillier months:

Smoke detectors/alarms. Being in a wildfire zone is a tough place to be during these later months, so it is imperative that our home stays on alert. Test your smoke detectors and alarms to make sure they are in working order.

Heating devices. As we get chillier, we make our homes warmer. Give your HVAC a quick inspection and change any filters necessary, leave at least three feet around your space heaters, clean your chimney and make sure to have a screen around your fireplace to ensure ultimate safety.

Garden maintenance. Now that we’ve considered the inside of your home, let’s take a look at how to protect yourself from the outside. Rain gutters and roofs should be kept free of autumn’s gorgeous falling leaves because they are dry and can easily catch fire. In fact, your entire yard should be maintained in order to keep the drier debris away from your home.

Fire escape routes. This may seem like a given, but many homes do not have a fire escape plan. Making sure that your family knows what to do in fire will be key to not only their safety but to prevent panic from happening. Knowledge is key to calmness in chaos.

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.