In some good news for Mountain Area residents, recent rains and cooler temperatures across the region have lowered the threat of wildfires, and Cal Fire’s Madera-Mariposa- Merced Unit (MMU) will transition out of peak fire season Nov. 14.
“The 2016 fire season was challenging throughout the state, and the Madera-Mariposa-Merced Unit was very successful at suppressing fires and keeping them from becoming large and damaging incidents,” said Nancy Koerperich, MMU Chief. “There are many hazards that come from living in an area affected by severe tree mortality and it is important for everyone to continue to remain diligent in their burning operations and follows the guidelines set forth in their area.”
As drought conditions continue to have a hold on California, Cal Fire is maintaining staffing to meet the current threat, as well as strategically moving resources to areas that remain at a higher threat level, Koerperich said. The agency will also continue to monitor weather conditions closely and maintain the ability to increase staffing should weather conditions change or there is a need to support wildfires or other emergencies in other areas of the state.
The 2016 fire season has been an extremely active year, even more so than in 2015. Statewide, Cal Fire and firefighters from many local agencies battled more than 5,585 wildfires, over 1,170 more wildfires this year than average. In MMU, Cal Fire responded to 1,447 wildfires that charred 2,951 acres.
During the cooler winter months, Cal Fire will focus efforts on the implementation of fire prevention and fuels treatment activities as guided by the State’s Strategic Fire Plan and localized unit fire plans. These activities are aimed at reducing the impacts of large, damaging wildfires and improving overall forest health.
Residents are urged to still take precautions outdoors in order to prevent sparking a wildfire. A leading cause of wildfires this time of year is from escaped landscape debris burning. Before you burn, ensure it is a permissive burn day by contacting:
☆ Merced and Madera Counties-San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District at (877) 429-2876.
☆ Mariposa County-Mariposa Air Pollution Control District at (209) 966-2220.
Be sure you have any and all required burn permits. During burning, make sure that piles of landscape debris are no larger than four feet in diameter, provide a 10-foot clearance down to bare mineral soil around the burn pile and ensure that a responsible adult is in attendance at all times with a water source and a shovel.