Tag Archives: Southern California fire season

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.

Holiday-Proof Your Home from Accidental Fires | Corona, CA

Now that we are officially in the middle of the holiday season, it’s important to keep safety in mind. Between fireplaces and heating systems cozying up your beautifully decorated homes, fires can spark if we aren’t careful. In order to have a safe, happy holiday season for you and yours, follow these fire safety tips:

Make sure all of your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are tested and running properly. It is also important to have an escape plan in place, just in case something happens, and you need to exit quickly. If you have guests or family staying with you, let them know the correct route to take to make sure they escape safely.

If you decide you would like to have a live tree in your home, make sure you get the freshest of trees and water them daily so that it doesn’t dry out before the holidays are over. If you are going with an artificial tree, make sure there is a fire-resistant label.

When it comes to holiday décor, make sure to check all electrical light strands and decorations for any frays or cord damage and never connect more than three at a time to avoid overloading the outlets and stash cords along walls and out of doorways to avoid tripping.

As you plug in your heaters and spark your fireplaces, ensure that anything that can catch fire is at least three feet away. If you are lighting candles, snuff them out before you leave the room or head off to bed.

If you take the proper precautions, you won’t have to worry about anything but the memories you and your family will have for years to come.

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

Thousands in California Face Power Shutoffs During Fire Weather | Corona, CA

Utility Southern California Edison said nearly 50,000 of its customers could go dark as a prevention measure.

Nov. 27, 2020, 4:18 PM PST

By Dennis Romero

Thousands of utility customers in Southern California were warned they could be in the dark Friday because dry, windy fire weather was whipping the region.

Initially 100,000 customers were under consideration for precautionary power cutoffs to prevent sparking fires, but that number was reduced to 47,000 by afternoon, said Taelor Bakewell, a spokeswoman for Southern California Edison.

Still, electricity was cut off to 15,796 customers Friday under the preventative plan, she said.

Customers in Los Angeles, Orange and Riverside counties could still be affected, she said. Another 2,739 customers in San Diego County were warned of possible shutoffs from San Diego Gas & Electric, the utility said.

The city of Los Angeles has its own taxpayer-run utility that doesn’t participate in precautionary outages. The shutoffs have otherwise become customary during dry, windy weather in California.

State fire officials determined that Pacific Gas & Electric transmission lines were the cause of the state’s deadliest blaze, 2018’s Camp Fire, and the utility agreed to billions of dollars of settlements connected to a rash of Northern California fires in 2017.

Even in late November, with overnight temperatures producing freeze warnings in some parts of Southern California, fire weather can erupt. The weekend’s forecast includes dry, offshore winds from the U.S.-Mexico border to Ventura County.

Gusts of up to 65 mph were possible in regional mountains through Saturday afternoon, the National Weather Service said.

“What drives the fire risk is not just temperature,” said Tom Fischer, a weather service meteorologist in Oxnard. “It’s wind, low humidity and fuel moisture.”

The winds could subside by Sunday, he said: “But don’t let your guard down.”

Dennis Romero writes for NBC News and is based in Los Angeles.

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

Mythbusters: Fire Safety Edition | Corona, CA

When you live in California, dealing with a fire season is something we are all familiar with. And now that we are smack dab in the middle of wildfire season, it is important that we are prepared for any type of fire that may arise during these hotter months. Preparation is necessary, but it’s critical that you know the truth regarding fire safety. The following includes a list of five common fire safety myths:

Myth #1: A smoke detector provides enough protection.

Fact: Having smoke alarms can be a vital part of fire safety, but they shouldn’t be your sole form of protection. They don’t put out the fire and if not regularly checked, smoke alarms may also fail to work.

Myth #2: You can control and put out a small fire on your own.

Fact: Many damaging fires start with a small accident. No matter how big or small the flames are, be sure to follow any fire safety instructions you have set in your home or workplace.

Myth #3: Fire sprinklers systems will freeze during winter.

Fact: Rest assured that proper procedures are put into place during a fire sprinkler installation process to keep it from freezing, regardless of the temperature.

Myth #4: People always panic during a fire.

Fact: Having a fire suppression system and emergency fire safety plan in place can help keep people level-headed.

Myth #5: Newer buildings are safer that older buildings.

Fact: Any fire, regardless of the age of your home or building, can be dangerous and potentially life threatening. Choose a fire suppression system to make your home or building as safe as possible.

For more information about fire safety myths, 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 Is a Fire Tornado? | Corona, CA

Now that we are in the midst of wildfire season, it is time we begin to brace for the worst the season has to offer. So far, 100,000 acres have been burned in this season throughout the states of California, Oregon and Colorado alone. And as if we don’t have enough to worry about, now we have fire tornadoes to worry about. Yes, as with everything else happening this year, wildfire season has brought with it fire tornadoes.

A phenomenon that is quite rare in its existence, fire tornadoes, or firenados for short, are pyrocumulonimbus clouds that forms from intense rising heat. This fire begins to pull in smoke and other debris and creates a vortex above the fire. It is as frightening as it sounds, folks.

A firenado was created in the Loyalton fire up north and kicked up to an excess of 60 mph. Back in 2018, a firenado killed a firefighter and a bulldozer driver in the fire up in Carr, CA. When comparing the damage of a firenado to a regular one, the equivalent was staggering – it would’ve taken a tornado with winds in excess of 143 mph to inflict the same amount of damage. So yes, they truly are very deadly and something to be aware of as we progress through the season.

2020 has been quite the year and we’re just over halfway done. Take care of yourselves out there. The heat is both draining to our bodies but dries out our surroundings as well. Keep an eye out for fire hazards around you and stay hydrated.

For more information about fire tornadoes, 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.

Enjoy Your Summer Safely | Corona, CA

Let’s face it – we all love the summertime fun that commences once the days get longer. The BBQs, vacations and recreational outdoor sports are just the beginning of the fun the summer season holds. But while we are enjoying ourselves with friends and family, it is important to keep fire safety in mind. Today, we are going to break down some fire safety tips to prepare for so that everyone has a great time in the summer sun…

When it’s time to grill:

  • Check the connection between the propane tank and the fuel line to ensure they aren’t blocked.
  • Do not overfill the propane tank.
  • Do not wear loose clothing while cooking at a barbecue.
  • Be careful when using lighter fluid. Do not add fluid to an already lit fire.
  • Keep all matches and lighters away from children. Teach your children to report any loose matches or lighters to an adult immediately. Supervise children around outdoor grills.
  • Dispose of hot coals properly – douse them with plenty of water ensure the fire is out.
  • Never barbecue in enclosed areas – carbon monoxide could be produced.
  • Make sure everyone knows to Stop, Drop and Roll in case a piece of clothing does catch fire. Call 911 if a burn warrants serious medical attention.

When you’re out camping:

  • Build campfires where they will not spread, away from dry grass and leaves.
  • Keep campfires small, and don’t let them get out of hand.
  • Keep plenty of water and a shovel around to douse the fire when you’re done. Stir it and douse it again with water.
  • Never leave campfires unattended.

For more information about summertime 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.