Lake County, CA (July 2, 2020) – Fire season is here, and drier than usual seasonal fuel conditions and low humidity already led to portions of Lake County being subject to a Red Flag Warning earlier this week.
“Our state, federal and local Land Management and Fire Agencies are outstanding partners,” assured Rob Brown, District 5 Supervisor. “Right now, they are working to remain prepared and prepositioned for future wildfire events throughout the state. We all have to do our part to help them out.”
Nearly 95% of wildfires in California are human-caused. Many result from events like equipment malfunctions, neglected heat sources, electrical or heating system issues and accidents of neglect, like improperly discarded cigarettes and metal objects (such as chains) left dangling from moving vehicles.
Particularly with the 4th of July coming this Saturday, it is critical all Lake County residents are vigilant in protecting against the threat of wildfire. Resources on topics including firework safety are available here:
“Resources are limited or uncertain for every public agency right now,” noted Brown, “and that includes some with responsibilities for fire suppression and mitigation. Inmate crews also do a lot of fire mitigation work, and we normally have 4-5 crews in Lake County, alone. Because of the early release of inmates, due to COVID-19, we will probably be down to 1 crew.”
Cleared Brush Visible from Roadsides
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is responsible for 200,000 square miles of Federal land in Lake County, including areas near Buckingham (the Black Forest) and the Rivieras.
Recently, they contracted with CAL FIRE to clear brush from areas visible from Lake County roadsides. While the vegetation was abated, a significant amount of brush has been piled and left in place. There is also some brush remaining from 2019’s 1,000 Hands Project.
Some County residents have expressed concern these piles may be hazardous, and asked that they be removed. We want to reassure the public CAL FIRE, BLM and the County are satisfied no significant fire hazard is present that warrants pulling CAL FIRE personnel from their usual and customary duties during the active fire season.
BLM does not have vegetation management personnel available to remove the brush, and it is generally agreed to pose relatively limited fire risk in place. Seeking an alternative contractor, one perhaps less familiar than CAL FIRE with vehicle and equipment maintenance practices that limit the probability of sparks, may bring greater fire risk than leaving the brush in place.
“Our local, state and federal partners are working collaboratively to prepare for this fire season but we can’t do it alone,” emphasized Congressman Mike Thompson. “It is imperative that each of us as individuals remain vigilant and do our part to prevent devastating wildfires and help save lives.”
Tips for reducing many types of residential and other fire risk are also available from the National Wildfire Protection Association’s Firewise USA program: