Fire season not over - seasonal precautions

Cal Fire spokeswoman Karen Guillemin-Kanawyer has an important message to residents of Eastern Madera County - fire season is not over and the statewide “burn ban” is still being enforced.

“I just want to stress that while days are shorter and it has not been as hot, fires can ignite easily from just one spark,” Guillemin-Kanawyer said. “I am hoping everyone who lives, works, drives, operates machinery or pulls a trailer is vigilant in their fire prevention efforts in our communities. One spark can start a catastrophic wildfire.”

Guillemin-Kanawyer added that historically many of the state’s major wildfires have started in the fall.

“We all need to keep the fire safety conversation going with friends, neighbors, and family to protect our community from possible devastation,” Guillemin-Kanawyer said.

Guillemin-Kanawyer offered that the shorter days and cooler weather is a good time for Mountain Area residents to continue to work on removing dead and dying vegetation around all structures to create a superior defensible space.

“The removal of dead and dying trees is an ongoing process and will continue for the next few years,” Guillemin-Kanawyer said. “It is the homeowner/landowners responsibility to remove their dead and dying trees from their property. At this point in time just remember not to burn any hazard reduction materials or any other materials.”

Dangerous time of year

Guillemin-Kanawyer said that as the weather turns cooler the public will start using fireplaces, wood stoves, and home heaters which always produce the possibility of fire emergencies.

“The last few years our area has had numerous structure fires started by sparks flying out from the chimney or wood stove pipes ... the residents did not clean the chimney or did not have the mandatory screen mesh over the chimney or wood stove pipe and the sparks lit the leaves and other debris on the roof on fire,” Guillemin-Kanawyer said. “Maintenance is the key - clean, maintain, and make sure the screens are in place before you lite that fire in the fire place or wood stove.”

For those who use electric or propane heaters in the home, take the time to dust off the appliance before the first use to prevent any fires. When in doubt call the propane company to check out your furnace before you use it. And if you use space heaters in your home, remember to unplug them when you leave the room and give each space heater a minimum three-foot clearance from walls, furniture, or any flammable material.