Cal Fire urges residents to be prepared for wildfires

Fire season is upon us, and already the blazes are hotter, more unpredictable and earlier than past trends, so it’s important to be prepared.

“Its only July … We’re seeing fire activity that many of us have never seen in our careers two or more months ahead of where we should be right now,” said Scott McClain, from the Cal Fire Information Center during a Cal Fire report last week.

He said by Monday, July 30, there were 17 wildfires burning in California.

Locally, the Whaleback Fire, which started Friday, July 27, grew to about 18,700 acres.

“Winds are pushing this fire and firefighters are seeing exponential growth, as with a lot of fires this year,” said McClain during the report.

With the unpredictability of these fires and how fast they can move, he urged residents to be prepared for wildfires.

“We need you to be responsible to prepare, because it is not a matter of if, we’ve said it before, it’s a matter of when a wildfire will strike in those rural areas,” he added.

He urged rural residents to visit readyforwildfire.org.

Some things residents can do before there is even a threat of a wildfire is maintaining an adequate defensible space around homes, hardening homes from fire threats and choosing fire-resistant landscaping.

Some of the tips found on the site urge residents to review their evacuation plan checklist and ensure there is an emergency supply kit in their vehicle.

Should evacuation occur, residents should cover-up to protect themselves against heat and flying embers by wearing long pants, shirts, heavy shoes and a dry bandana for face cover with goggles or glasses. Residents should also locate their pets and take them along when evacuating.

“We need everyone, and I mean everyone, to have a plan and to ensure they know what they would do in the event of a wildfire. I ask that you practice this with your family members,” McClain said in the update.

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