BEALE AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- --
The 2017 California wildland fire season was the most destructive on record. According to CAL FIRE, more than 9,000 fires burned approximately 1.25 million acres. Once again, wildland fire season is in full-swing and the 9th Civil Engineer Squadron fire department has advice to help keep people safe.
“Wildfire season in California is from May to November,” said Carey D. Waddell, 9th CES assistant chief fire protection. “People should use common sense fire prevention. Don’t throw cigarettes out, dispose of coals correctly, and make sure your campfire is put out before you leave.”
Waddell encourages people to be aware of the weather conditions. During hot conditions, even seemingly harmless things can spark a wildland fire.
“A vehicle parked in a field can cause fires,” said Waddell. “The exhaust can get the grass hot enough to where it ignites causing a fire.”
When someone encounters a fire they need to call 911 immediately.
“Any bystander that sees a fire developing needs to call 911 and get to a safe area. When they call 911 they need to tell the operator who they are, their location, and a call back number,” said Airman 1st Class Christian Capehart, 9th CES firefighter. “When someone is in their residence and they have a wildland fire coming toward them, their best bet is to inform their neighbors and leave the area.”
There are preventative steps people can take to help lessen the danger of this fire season.
“The main things I tell people are to always be proactive and the best preparation is prevention,” said Waddell. “Make sure you maintain your yard with watering, keep your vegetation low and away from your house. Basically, you are creating a defensible space.”
Waddell also stressed the importance of following the instructions of local first responders.
“Follow the orders from the emergency operations center whether it is on base or off base,” said Waddell. “If the local emergency operation center declares an evacuation, please evacuate.”
For more information on how to prevent wildland fires please visit: http://calfire.ca.gov/fire_prevention/fire_prevention