Fire Season, 2012

REMINDER: In 2008, before I ever even thought of blogging, our fire season started on April 17th, with a ten-acre fire just south of Esalen. My friend, and fellow blogger, Mike of firefighterblog wrote about it here.

This winter has produced little rain, and even with the rain expected this month, we are still considerably behind in our normal rainfall totals. That will translate to a very dangerous fire season, and one which starts earlier than usual. Remember, the Basin Fire started 6/21.

Even now, still in winter, we have experienced problems with “controlled” burns. Remember the one on 2/7 across the highway from Gorda Mountain? John sent me this photo, but it got lost in the shuffle, until now. Compare the height of the flames to the firefighter facing them. This started out as a controlled burn (on an extremely windy day – please take the time to read the guidelines at the end of this post regarding backyard burning).

Gorda Mountain Fire by John Galuszka

And Tuesday, when the Long House burned down? There was another incident of a controlled burn that was thought to be out on Lower Pfeiffer Ridge, but reignited two days later when the property owner had left. Fortunately a tenant was checking in on things up there. (As reported by Lee-Ann Acterberg.)

After the Long House fire, Cheryl, the Mid-Coast Fire Brigade chief sent out this reminder at the end of her report to residents in the area:

“Remember, the fire season is here … I can’t say it enough this is setting up to be a very long, very bad fire season … please do your fire clearance now … it’s too late when the fire is at your front door.”

Your Fire Chief
Cheryl Goetz

This was sent out at the beginning of the backyard burn season by the Mid-Coast Fire Brigade, so I’ve modified it slightly, but it serves as a good reminder until Fire Season officially opens, and ALL burns are banned:

Backyard Burn Season will end April 30, 2012 (if not before). As a reminder you must remember the following:

1. Burn ONLY on approved burn days. Call 800-225-BURN (2876) on the day that you would like to burn or after 3 PM the day before, to determine if it will be permissible to burn. Please call the fire brigade after you have determined that it is a permissive burn day.

2. As a courtesy to your neighbors notify them of your intent to burn.

3. Burn piles that are 4′ x 4′ x 4′ of dry material grown on your property, no manufactured, painted, or treated lumber, debris, plastics, garbage, tires, etc.

4. Clear a line down to mineral soil at least 18 inches around the entire pile. Have tools and water at hand while burning. You must be in attendance until the fire is out, and cold.

5. Burning Hours are 7 AM to 3 PM. Do not add any more material to your pile after 3 PM. The fire should be out before dark.

8. DON’T burn on windy days, even though it may be a burn day. If your fire escapes your control you will be responsible for suppression costs, damages, fines, and possibe civil liability lawsuits.