Tag Archives: wildfire preparedness

These California Communities Face the Highest Fire Risk | Corona, CA

From pricey gated neighborhoods to rural logging towns.

By Soumya Karlamangla \ Sept. 29, 2021

More than the videos of flying embers and glowing red skies, the images that still haunt me from the 2018 Camp fire are of cars lined up along exit routes, as people desperate to escape discovered they were trapped.

The fire destroyed the town of Paradise and killed 85 people, becoming the deadliest fire in California history. It’s a tragedy that raises an important question as California’s fire season appears to worsen each year: Can we predict the next Paradise?

There are a few ways to think about this, from looking at a region’s risk of megafires to its number of evacuation routes.

California officials rank an area’s wildfire risk — based on its vegetation, fire history and topography — as either moderate, high or very high. More than 2.7 million Californians live in parts of the state deemed very high risk, painted in bright red on the state’s wildfire danger map.

“These designations have proven eerily predictive about some of the state’s most destructive wildfires in recent years,” reads a 2019 analysis put together by several California newsrooms, pointing out that “nearly all of Paradise is colored in bright red.”

California is home to more than 75 communities, including Paradise, where at least 90 percent of residents live in these very high-risk swaths, the analysis found. The extremely fire-prone towns include:

  • Rancho Palos Verdes, Calabasas, La Cañada Flintridge, Palos Verdes Estates and Malibu in Los Angeles County
  • South Lake Tahoe and Pollock Pines in El Dorado County (both were evacuated in recent weeks)
  • Lake Arrowhead in San Bernardino County
  • Kensington in Contra Costa County

But there’s more to the story. This list covers places where a fire is most likely to break out, but it doesn’t reflect what happens once one does.

There were six exit routes in Paradise, but the fast-moving fire closed some and mass evacuations created traffic jams on the roads that were usable.

(It’s important to note that while traffic slowed evacuations in Paradise, fewer than 10 people who died were in their cars apparently trying to flee, according to an investigation by the Butte County district attorney. Most of those killed were older people in their homes.)

Across California, approximately 350,000 people live in fire zones that have no more evacuation routes per person than Paradise, according to the 2019 analysis. The places with relatively few exit routes include:

  • Highland Park, Eagle Rock, Pacific Palisades and Rancho Palos Verdes in Los Angeles County
  • Newbury Park, Oak Park and Moorpark in Ventura County
  • Carmel Valley and Jamesburg in Monterey County
  • Jamul, Ramona and Scripps Ranch in San Diego County
  • Big Bear, Minnelusa and Sugarloaf in San Bernardino County

Still, there are some important caveats here.

Just because there are exit routes doesn’t mean people will actually use all of them. In an emergency, many people are likely to opt for roads they know best, which could lead to traffic jams on the more popular ways out of town.

So, this summer, StreetLight Data, an analytics company in San Francisco, did a slightly different analysis.

Its researchers tallied exit routes in each community and measured their typical traffic loads using GPS data from cellphones. That allowed them to predict which routes people would be most likely to take during an evacuation.

StreetLight identified 15 places in California with more constrained evacuation routes than Paradise, ranging from some of the state’s most expensive gated neighborhoods to remote logging towns.

“It really cuts across income levels and terrain,” Martin Morzynski, the company’s vice president for marketing, told me. “When it’s smoky, things are hectic, what have you, people tend to take the road they know.”

The five places with the most limited evacuation routes were:

  • Bell Canyon in Ventura County
  • Brooktrails in Mendocino County
  • Lake California in Tehama County
  • North Shore in Riverside County
  • Coto De Caza in Orange County

Three major blazes have whipped through Bell Canyon, a hilly gated community home to about 2,000 residents, since Tim Brehm moved there in 1980.

Brehm, a retired high school teacher, prepares his home each year by clearing brush and maintaining hundreds of feet of defensible space around his home.

He knows there are two exit routes out of Bell Canyon but has never used either. He has always stayed behind to defend his property, though he acknowledged that fires appear to be growing more belligerent.

“I always have a viable escape plan: Keep my keys in my pocket and my truck is right there,” Brehm told me. “If everything goes south, then I’ll just get in my truck and go.”

How to prepare for wildfires:

  • Pack your go bag.
  • Ready your home.
  • Track wildfires near you.

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.

What to Know About the Dixie Fire | Corona, CA

Tuesday: Although it rained on Monday, fire season is well underway. And the state’s biggest blaze is burning near areas scarred from the Camp Fire.

By Jill Cowan | July 27, 2021

Good morning.

There may have been rare July showers in parts of California on Monday. But make no mistake: The drought is still a threat. And fire season is underway.

The Dixie Fire, California’s largest wildfire this year, continued to burn through thousands of acres of rough terrain, prompting evacuation orders and threatening communities in a region scarred by the memory of the 2018 Camp Fire, the deadliest in the state’s history.

More than 5,400 firefighters were battling the Dixie Fire, which merged over the weekend with another nearby blaze, the Fly Fire, and had burned through about 200,000 acres, according to Cal Fire, the state’s fire agency.

That’s an area a little larger than New York City, and about half of the acreage burned by the Bootleg Fire in southern Oregon, the nation’s largest this year. But the Bootleg Fire is burning in a more remote area; 300 people live within five miles of that blaze, according to The New York Times’s wildfire tracker, compared with 4,900 within five miles of the Dixie Fire.

The Dixie Fire started more than a week ago, just a couple of miles from the spot where the Camp Fire ignited, said Rick Carhart, a spokesman for Cal Fire in Butte County. That fire killed more than 80 people and all but leveled the remote town of Paradise.

“There really is so much — there’s no other word for it — PTSD,” Mr. Carhart said. “There’s so much anxiety.”

A stream of firefighting helicopters taking off from a nearby airport in recent days has flown over Magalia, a community that was also devastated by the Camp Fire. Residents there are out of the path of this year’s flames, Mr. Carhart said — but are still afraid.

“They see a helicopter with a bucket attached,” he said. “And it’s, ‘Oh my God, here we go again.’”

The two blazes also bear another chilling similarity: Pacific Gas & Electric, the state’s largest utility, said last week that blown fuses on one of its utility poles may have sparked the Dixie Fire. PG&E pleaded guilty last year to 84 counts of involuntary manslaughter for its role in starting the Camp Fire.

Mr. Carhart said that crews have been making progress in controlling the Dixie Fire, and the weather has been more cooperative in recent days than fire officials had predicted. Nevertheless, the size and timing of the blaze — which he said is already the 15th-largest in California’s recorded history — point to a future in which fires won’t be limited to a single season.

“One of the most concerning things about it is how early in the year it is,” Mr. Carhart.

Last year’s record-breaking wildfire season, during which millions of acres burned across California and the West, actually had a below-average start, he said, until widespread lightning strikes ignited tinder-dry vegetation in many remote areas.

Right now, Mr. Carhart said, the thousands of firefighters who are cutting fire lines, dousing hot spots or doing any of the other time-consuming, physically demanding work required of them, are looking at months before there’s likely to be rain, which heralds an end to the most intense fire activity.

In the past, he said, he might have expected a blaze like the Dixie Fire sometime in September — not July.

“We’re all kind of learning that fire season isn’t a three-month or six-month thing anymore,” he said.

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.

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 near Corona Airport Explodes to 750 Acres, Shuts Down Highway 71 in Both Directions | Corona, CA

By Rob McMillan and ABC7.com staff

Friday, December 4, 2020

CORONA, Calif. (KABC) — A fire that erupted near the Corona Municipal Airport has grown to 750 acres, shutting down a main road in the area, authorities said Thursday morning.

The blaze, dubbed the Airport Fire, started Tuesday night and exploded in size by Thursday as strong winds continued to whip across Southern California, leading to other fires across the region. As of 4:40 p.m. Thursday, the fire was 10% contained.

Early Thursday morning, the flames prompted the closure of State Route 71 in both directions between the 91 Freeway and Highway 83, according to CAL FIRE/Riverside County Fire Department. Residents of the Sonora Ranch neighborhood, which is approximately less than two miles away from the blaze, have been keeping a close eye on the flames since it started earlier this week. Some say their concerns grew when the winds kicked up overnight.

“When the winds started kicking up last night and sounded like waves crashing up against the house, that was the concern for us,” said Tahisha Cattouse. “I was still able to sleep but then this morning my husband goes ‘the fire is still here and it jumped the freeway’.”

An evacuation warning had been issued for several streets (Big Springs Court., Rock Ridge Court, Cheyenne Road, Homestead Road, Holster Street and Lone Tree Street). But by 10 p.m. Wednesday the warnings were lifted.

The fire was first reported Tuesday night behind the airport at the Prado Basin at less than five acres. But red flag conditions – Santa Ana winds and low humidity – kept it going and spreading to at least 25 acres by early afternoon Wednesday, then 50 acres later in the day. No damage to structure or injuries have been 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

California Wildfires Still Growing but Some Residents Are Allowed to Return Home | Corona, CA

By Madeline Holcombe and Cheri Mossburg, CNN Updated 6:46 PM ET, Tue October 27, 2020

(CNN)Two out-of-control wildfires in Southern California grew Tuesday, but while officials issued some new evacuation orders, they also told many residents from Irvine they could go home.

The Silverado Fire near Irvine has charred 12,600 acres and is 5% contained. Just north of that, the Blue Ridge Fire near Yorba Linda has ballooned in size, more than doubling its footprint, currently calculated at 15,200 acres. The fire, which is 0% contained, has damaged 10 homes.

More than 80,000 people have been told to stay away from their homes, including some NFL football players for the Los Angeles Chargers. That number is down by about 20,000, as many residents who fled Irvine have been told the area is safe now.

Southern California Edison said a power line may have played a role in igniting the Silverado Fire, according to a report filed with California Public Utilities Commission. The initial safety incident report describes overhead electrical facilities in the area where authorities think the fire started but notes no activity on the circuit.

“…(It) appears that a lashing wire attached to a telecommunications line may have contacted SCE’s power line above it, possibly starting the fire,” SCE spokesman Chris Abel told CNN.

Between the fires roaring in Southern California and dry, windy conditions prompting red flag warnings in Northern California, power companies have enacted Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS). Nearly 130,000 customers in California were without power Tuesday afternoon, according to PowerOutage.US. The bulk of the customers are managed by Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) for Northern California and Southern California Edison.

Fire officials said 1,800 people are battling the two fires, and on Monday two of them were critically injured. The men suffered second- and third-degree burns while battling the Silverado Fire near Irvine, Orange County Fire Authority Chief Brian Fennessy told reporters.

Fennessy said Tuesday they were “fighting for their lives.” “I know them personally. They are strong. Having gotten to know their parents over the past 24 hours, I can see where they got their strength, Fennessy said. “It’s tough to feel this helpless.”

The men, ages 26 and 31, are part of Orange County Fire Authority’s ground crew. Their names haven’t been released. The team uses hand tools to stop wildfire flames from progressing, much like hotshots. Three other firefighters had minor injuries, were treated at the hospital, and released.

As Ed Pascasio fled from the Silverado Fire on Monday afternoon with his wife, niece and sister-in-law, he watched embers flying toward their neighborhood.

“The sky was orange, kind of like doomsday,” he said. “I’ve never seen it change dramatically that fast.”

The cars packed on main roads — filled with fleeing residents — resembled a movie scene, Pascasio said.

“A lot of neighbors were leaving at the same time. Everyone was shocked by the speed of it all,” he said.

This has been a devastating year for fires. At least 8,000 fire incidents reported by Cal Fire have burned a record 4 million acres and claimed the lives of 31 people this year so far. And dry, windy conditions have prompted power shutoffs to prevent more.

CNN’s Sarah Moon, Amir Vera, Joe Sutton, Eric Levenson, Stella Chan and Steve Almasy 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

The Land of Never-Ending Heatwaves | Corona, CA

It feels like summer will never end, doesn’t it? And as the days tick by, it feels like the earth is getting drier and drier, just waiting for a spark to ignite it. Like a baby gender reveal – send an email if it’s that important for you to share, folks. Yes, living in California is a scary time during days like these. But this doesn’t mean we need to be unprepared. Because these wildfires are commonly started by human error, they can quickly ignite and burn through tinder, spreading to nearby homes as well.

If you live in or near a fire-prone area, there are various ways that you can help reduce the chance for severe damage to your home and property by keeping wildfire safety in mind and selecting materials that can help contain a fire rather than fuel it.

When designing your home, use fire-resistant or noncombustible materials on the roof and exterior structure of the dwelling. Make sure to treat any materials with fire-retardant chemicals evaluated by a nationally recognized laboratory. Plant fire-resistant shrubs and trees and avoid more flammable pine, evergreen, eucalyptus or fir trees.

When safety is concerned, regularly clean your roof and gutters to remove any debris, install a smoke detector on every floor in your home and ensure that you have at least a 100-foot radius of cleared vegetation around your home.

If evacuation is necessary, follow the instructions of local officials, shut all windows and doors and bring your disaster preparedness kit. The main thing to focus on is ensuring that you and your family are safe and sound if a wildfire does happen close to you.

For more information about wildfire protection 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.

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.

Dam Fire 40% Contained After Charring 217 Acres Above Azusa; Battle Continues Amid Heatwave | Corona, CA

by Nisha Gutierrez-Jaime

Posted: Jul 31, 2020 / 10:22 AM PDT / Updated: Jul 31, 2020 / 11:47 AM PDT

Despite blazing temperatures and difficult terrain, firefighters have increased containment on the Dam Fire which has burned more than 200 acres in the mountains north of Azusa, officials said Friday. The wildfire erupted Thursday afternoon around 1:45 p.m. in the 9500 block of North San Gabriel Canyon Road, near Morris Dam in the Angeles National Forest, the Los Angeles County Fire Department reported.

As of Friday morning, the Dam Fire had burned 217 acres and was 40% contained. Firefighters are continuing to aggressively work on gaining the upper hand despite sweltering temperatures.

“The combination of hot temperatures, low relative humidities, locally gusty winds, and drying fuels will bring elevated fire weather conditions to the Dam Fire burn area today,” officials said on the wildfire’s InciWeb page.

More than 250 firefighters from several agencies responded to the wildfire to battle it from the ground. Video from Sky5 also showed aerial units dousing the flames with water from above. Nearby residents could hear the planes working overhead throughout the afternoon.

The fire grew quickly on Thursday afternoon, resulting in mandatory evacuations and road closures.

Mandatory evacuations were ordered around 4 p.m. for those in the area north of Morris Dam to Crystal Lake. Camp sites and recreation areas in the surrounding areas are also off limits.

“They are not typical residential evacuations ion that we typically see during these big wildfires,” Marc Peebles of the U.S. Forest Service told KTLA. “There are some special use cabins up there and I believe one of them had people in it, so they evacuated the folks out of there.”

Highway 39 was closed to all traffic at Old San Gabriel Canyon Road, as well as East Fork Road. The Azusa Police Department said the closures would be in effect through at least Sunday. Non-residents were not being allowed to go past El Encanto Restaurant. In addition to the heatwave, rockslides have also made the situation difficult on crews.

“As the slopes burn it loses the ability to hold back those heavy rocks, so we have had several rockslides that have come down on the roadways so CalTrans is here working with us,” Peebles said.

The South Coast Air Quality Management District issued a smoke advisory in effect through Friday afternoon due to the Dam Fire as winds were expected to come from the southwest, which could push smoke to the northeast, toward Wrightwood and Mount Baldy. The cause of the wildfire remains under investigation.

|UPDATE| #DamFire Despite hot temperatures and steep terrain, your #AngelesNF firefighters were able to grow the containment to 40%. Overnight, we mapped the fire at 217 acres. pic.twitter.com/4iGsqJ2VBl

— Angeles_NF (@Angeles_NF) July 31, 2020

ANF Fire Chief Robert Garcia; “A very robust air and ground attack is holding back further spread. But tough days ahead in some of the steepest terrain in the Angeles, combined with a heat wave of 100-degrees-plus. Please give thanks to your firefighters.” #DamFire. Photo #air7hd pic.twitter.com/Q51kVvMJUv

— Angeles_NF (@Angeles_NF) July 31, 2020

**HWY 39 WILL BE CLOSED TO ALL TRAFFIC ** through at least Sunday. Please stay away from the area as non residents will not be allowed to continue beyond El Encanto Restaurant.#azusa #CityofAzusa #AzusaPD #fire #lafd #firefighters #canyon #roadclosed

— Azusa Police (@AzusaPD) July 31, 2020

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.

How the Coronavirus Pandemic Is Crippling California’s Efforts to Prevent Catastrophic Wildfires | Corona, CA

Kurtis Alexander March 25, 2020 Updated: March 25, 2020 9:04 a.m.

California’s ability to prepare for a dry and potentially dangerous fire season this year is being crippled as the coronavirus pandemic prompts fire agencies across the West to cancel or delay programs aimed at preventing catastrophic wildfire. From clearing out undergrowth in forests to training firefighters to tamp out flames, local, state and federal fire forces are trying to move forward within new social distancing guidelines, as well as with potentially sick employees, but that’s making their work harder and sometimes impossible to do.

The U.S. Forest Service, which oversees more than half of California’s wildlands, announced last week that it was suspending all prescribed burns, one of the most effective tools for increasing California’s resiliency to fire. The state’s Cal Fire agency, meanwhile, says it won’t halt its vegetation management activities — at least at this point — but it is rethinking how, when and where they’re done.

Spring fire preparations are considered vital to readying California for the warmer, drier summer and fall. Wildfire experts worry that disruptions caused by the coronavirus outbreak will not only increase the fire threat in the coming months but also sap momentum from a yearslong effort to make sure the state can weather the types of mega-fires recently seen in Butte County and Wine Country.

“If we don’t increase prescribed fire, restoration thinning and managed wildfire, we will never get out of our current forest problems,” said Scott Stephens, a professor of fire science at UC Berkeley. “Suspending prescribed fire further puts us in a hole in terms of long-term activities to increase forest resilience to climate change, wildfire and drought.”

Officials with the U.S. Forest Service, which oversees the nation’s largest firefighting force, said they were halting their burn program indefinitely so that communities wouldn’t have to deal with smoke during new shelter-in-place orders as well as for the safety of employees. About 5,000 Forest Service firefighters work in California.

Those conducting prescribed burns routinely travel in groups to burn sites, often across long distances. The work itself is done in crews of up to 20 members. Health experts have advised people to stay at least 6 feet away from others to prevent spread of the highly contagious coronavirus, and the White House has issued guidelines discouraging gatherings of more than 10.

The suspension of the burn program comes as the federal government, in concert with states like California, was beginning to initiate new, aggressive goals for prescribed fire in response to deadly blazes like the 2018 Camp Fire, which killed 85 people. Such infernos have helped put a spotlight on the perilous, overgrown condition of the nation’s forests, and burning off the thick brush and dead trees has proved a cost-effective solution.

“A lot of people were looking forward to this year being a ramping up of prescribed fire,” said Malcolm North, a professor of plant sciences at UC Davis who works with the U.S. Forest Service in the Sierra Nevada. “My concern now is that we’re going to be more reactive to fire than proactive.”

In response to the pandemic, the U.S. Forest Service has also called off in-person fire training through at least April 3 and canceled meetings where planning and risk assessment is done for fire season.

Like many businesses, the federal agency has moved many work discussions and training sessions online. However, surveying the landscape for fire danger and learning how to drive a fire engine are tough to do via Zoom.

“Training that cannot be done virtually will either be conducted in smaller groups or a waiver may be given until the training can be completed at a later date,” said Jonathan Groveman, spokesman for the Pacific Southwest Region of the Forest Service, in a statement to The Chronicle.

The biggest challenge may lie ahead as making adjustments, including social distancing, only gets harder come fire season. It’s a reality that fire officials have just begun to ponder.

The big wildfires that burn in California typically draw hundreds, if not thousands, of firefighters into densely packed tent cities, where they work, eat and sleep together for weeks. Norovirusoutbreaks are common, and the more severe coronavirus would probably find ripe breeding grounds there.

If the virus continues to spread, as many medical experts expect, some firefighters might be too sick to make it to the front lines. Already, local fire departments have begun to report that some of their employees are infected by the virus or showing symptoms of the corresponding illness, COVID-19.

“The thing I worry about is firefighter health and wellness,” said Kelly Martin, the recently retired chief of Yosemite National Park’s fire program. “Our firefighting workforce is already stretched to the max in terms of the year-to-year response to these large fires where whole communities are being destroyed. The firefighters are already seeing a toll.”

Martin advises that residents in rural and wooded areas prepare for a less robust response from fire agencies this year. She encourages more home hardening for wildfire and clearing more vegetation around houses. “Don’t always count on the helicopters and the air tankers and the firefighters to be there,” she said.

In Grass Valley (Nevada County), a community in the Sierra foothills that has come together in recent years to address the area’s high fire risk, residents are trying to continue neighborhood fire-prevention work despite the obstacles posed by the coronavirus.

“We’re not going to have our April meeting, and we don’t know about May,” said Susan Rogers, 68, an organizing member of the Nevada County Coalition of Firewise Communities. “But we can put stuff on our website and link people to it. That’s how we’ll keep people updated for now.”

Officials at Cal Fire say they’re also continuing to help communities get prepared. They don’t plan to stop their house-to-house safety inspections, which they do thousands of each spring, nor curtail the work of crews that trim trees and cut fire breaks around homes.

Cal Fire’s academies for new and seasonal firefighters will go on as well. The agency expects to have close to 7,000 total firefighters at work during peak season. “We don’t know what’s going to happen, but rest assured, we will respond accordingly,” said Scott McLean, spokesman for Cal Fire. “That is our job.”

Kurtis Alexander is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: kalexander@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @kurtisalexander

For more information about our services, 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.