Tag Archives: summertime 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.

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.

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.

The West Is on Fire… Again | Corona, CA

By Umair Irfan 

Updated Jul 27, 2018, 11:36am EDT

Wildfires have almost become a year-round threat in some parts of the western United States. From Colorado to California, it feels like the blazes from last year never went out.

Flames ignited forests and chaparral virtually nonstop in 2017, and the year ended with record infernos in Southern California that burned well into 2018.

Officials don’t refer to “fire seasons anymore but rather to fire years,” Jennifer Jones, a spokesperson for the National Interagency Fire Center, told me in an email.

The NIFC reports that this year, wildfires have burned more than 3.9 million acres, about 11 percent above the average since 2008. At the moment, 13 states are reporting large fires, from Alaska to New Mexico.

On Thursday, the Carr Fire erupted in Redding, California, sending a 100-foot-high “wall of flame” through the town. The fire has already engulfed more than 44,000 acres, skipped over the Sacramento River, and is just 3 percent contained as of Friday morning. The blaze has killed two firefighters and prompted mandatory evacuations for many of the city’s 92,000 residents.

The Ferguson Fire near Yosemite National Park has meanwhile burned more than 45,000 acres, an area more than 51 times the size of Central Park in Manhattan, since igniting on July 13. More than 3,400 firefighters from as far away as Virginia are fighting the blaze. As of Friday, the fire was only 29 percent contained and had led to the death of one firefighter, Braden Varney.

Further south, in San Bernardino National Forest near Los Angeles, the Cranston Fire ignited Wednesday morning forcing more than 3,000 people to evacuate. Authorities believe an arsonist is behind the 11,500-acre blaze.

California Governor Jerry Brown declared states of emergency for Shasta County, where the Carr Fire is burning, and Riverside County, where the Cranston Fire continues to rage.

Meanwhile, the Substation Fire near Portland, Oregon, has torched 79,000 acres and forced 75 households to evacuate. It’s just one of 160 wildfires across Oregon, though most fires are currently in the southern part of the state. As of Thursday morning, the Substation Fire is 92 percent contained. And in Colorado, wildfires have already ripped through more than 175,000 acres, and the ensuing rains have brought mudslides along the freshly denuded landscape.

And it’s likely to get worse. Many parts of the US are facing a higher than normal fire risk this year.

It’s an alarming echo of last year’s devastating fire season, which charred more than 10 million acres, making it one of the worst years in more than three decades. California suffered its largest wildfire ever, the Thomas Fire, which engulfed an area 1.6 times the size of New York City.

As firefighters take on new blazes and homeowners rebuild in the ashes, here are some things worth knowing and what we can expect for the remainder of the fire season.

Some states are already seeing worse fires than last year, and the risks remain high

A key thing to remember is that wildfires are ordinarily a natural phenomenon. Many parts of the US are primed to burn, and fires are vital to the ecosystem, restoring nutrients to the soil and clearing out decaying brush. Trees like the Jack pine only release their seeds after a fire. Plants like buckthorn need fires to germinate.

But the destruction from the gargantuan blazes we’ve seen in recent years is hardly natural; human activity is clearly making it worse.

For one thing, humans start the vast majority of these fires, upward of 84 percent of them. California officials have blamed a dozen of last year’s fires on Pacific Gas and Electric’s power lines. Utilities were also blamed for fires in Nevada. Arson was suspected for fires in Northern California.

Another factor is how humans use the land. People are increasingly building closer to the wilderness, blurring the line between suburbs and shrubland. That means that when fires do burn, they threaten more lives and property. Meanwhile, active fire suppression in some areas has allowed dry vegetation to accumulate, so when embers ignite, it causes a massive conflagration.

And of course, the climate is changing, mostly due to human activity. Rising average temperatures have led to western forests drying out, increasing the risk of fires. There are 129 million dead trees in California alone. Across the state, the total number of fires is trending downward, but the size of fires is going up.

But in Southern California’s fires, like last year’s Thomas Fire, scientists don’t see a climate signal just yet. The region is hot and dry year-round. Drought can actually kill off the grasses and shrubs that would ordinarily burn. As a result, the fire risks haven’t demonstrated an association with rising temperatures so far. However, modeling shows that by 2050, climate change will increase the size of burned areas in Southern California.

Despite the significant swaths of the country that went up in flames last year, there is still plenty of fuel around, even in areas that ignited last year. “Although [2017] was the second highest number of acres burned since 1960, it is a fraction of the more than 1 billion acres of vegetated landscapes in the U.S., so there is a lot of land left to burn,” said NIFC’s Jones.

In fact, new vegetation has already sprung up. That’s because the winter brought much-needed moisture to the drought-stricken West, despite an unusually warm winter.

Scott McLean, a spokesperson for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire), explained that the precipitation spurred fast-growing grasses and shrubs. The searing, record-setting heat that followed this year dried out plants, leaving many parts of the West coated in tinder.

In California, fires have already burned more land and Cal Fire has initiated 200 more fire responses now than it did at the same point last year.

The NIFC reports that Utah, Nevada, Idaho, Oregon, Washington, and California all face “above normal” fire risks throughout much of their territories, as this map shows:

There are still drought conditions in Colorado, Utah, and Arizona that will likely persist even after seasonal rains, and lightning from the storms threatens to ignite new wildfires. Fire risks are lower in northern Montana and Washington state due to a wet spring.

As with last year, the fire potential will increase in the early fall along coastal Oregon and California as fast-moving seasonal winds pick up.

Even as we get better at fighting wildfires, they’re becoming more costly and dangerous

Firefighters are trying to apply some of the lessons learned from last year’s blazes. Cal Fire says it has managed to contain the vast majority of fires in its jurisdiction to less than 10 acres. But with more development in fire-prone regions, it’s getting harder to balance the demands to protect property against the need for the land to burn.

Fire officials are working with communities to explain why controlled burns are a necessary step to prevent more dangerous fires, but it makes homeowners antsy. “When you put fire on the ground, people get a little concerned,” said Cal Fire’s McLean. “It’s still an education process.”

It would also help to have policies that discourage building in the highest-risk areas. That’s difficult when the population is growing in many parts of the West and some of the cheapest land for new housing is in those regions poised to burn.

So far, this year, it seems that many of the same mistakes that have put people at risk are being repeated. In California, some residents are rebuilding in the same fire zones where homes burned last year, spurred in part by insurance payouts.

Correction: An earlier version of this article said referred to the Substation Fire as being in Southern Oregon. The fire is in the northern part of the state.

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

CJ Suppression proudly serves Corona and all surrounding areas.