SAN BERNARDINO – As part of Wildfire and Arson Awareness Week, which is from May 7-13, the San Bernardino County Fire Department, CalFire, U.S. Forest Service, law enforcement, and the Fire Safe Councils are bringing awareness about the risk of wildfires. In order to protect families, pets, and property against wildfires and other disasters residents are urged to become educated about wildfire prevention. “Wildfire safety isn’t limited to those who live near wild lands; it’s for anyone camping or spending time in these locations as well,” San Bernardino County Fire officials said.
Despite the rain in the region this winter, the risk of fire is not gone. The rain actually, according to fire officials, can increase wildfires. San Bernardino County Fire Chief Mark Hartwig explained how we will continue to see wildfires spread this season with high intensity. “The rain helped combat the bark beetle infestation in our local mountains; however it also causes the growth of light flashy fuels. These flashy fuels mixed with high temperatures and winds are a recipe for disaster.”
The Blue Cut fire last summer burned 36,274 acres and is an example of the type of behavior our region can continue to expect. Preparation is key in preventing or reducing the risk of fire spread. Some of these ways are to clear vegetation and debris from around the home, creating a preparedness plan, and reporting suspicious fire activity. “We are already seeing vegetation fires this year grow at a rapid rate; now is the time to start preparing,” stated Fire Chief Mark Hartwig. SBCoFire also encourages residents to get involved in one of 4 community volunteer programs, as part of the newly implemented Emergency Support Services.
Fire officials said that over a half a million wildfires are set by arsonists, resulting in over $3 billion in damages in the U.S. “If you See Something, Say Something.” “Reporting suspicious fire activity immediately can save your life and the lives of others,” said San Bernardino County Fire Marshal Mike Horton. Report tips anonymously through We-Tip at (800) 47- ARSON or online at www.WeTip.com.
For more information on wildfire preparedness or volunteer opportunities in your community, visit our website at www.sbcfire.org. Download our Ready, Set, Go! Guide at www.sbcfire.org/ReadySetGo.aspx.
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