SIMI VALLEY, Calif. – The Ventura County Fire Department hosted a press conference at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library to let Southern California residents know that now is the time to prepare for wildfires. They were joined by numerous first-response agencies including the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office, Ventura County Animal Services, the National Park Service, CAL FIRE, the U.S. Forest Service, National Weather Service, Red Cross and representatives from the Oxnard Fire Department and the Ventura Fire Department.
The event featured demonstrations of a firefighting gel used to protect structures, fire department crews cutting fire lines and extending hose lays, a helicopter water drop by the Sheriff’s Air Unit, and the deployment of hundreds of goats that the Reagan Library is using to help control brush around the facility. The focus of the event was preparedness.
“Some of what you’ll see here today are simple but effective things people can do to prepare now and protect their homes,” said Ventura County Fire Chief Mark Lorenzen. “One of the best tools a homeowner can give firefighters is defensible space. This allows firefighters to get between an advancing wildfire and the structure they are trying to defend. Our award-winning ‘Ready, Set, Go!’ program is designed to give property owners the information they need to prepare their homes.”
This year’s highly anticipated El Niño weather condition delivered rain to Northern California, but exceptional drought conditions still exist in Southern California and other parts of the state. The rain that fell in southern California – including Ventura County – produced a heavy crop of easily ignited grasses in many areas.
When that brush dries out, it creates more potential fuel for a fire, and that makes everyone vulnerable to the threat of a wildfire or the windborne embers it produces. As a result, fire departments and other first-response agencies are preparing now for a long and dangerous fire season; working together to increase staff, add equipment and share resources.
“We can’t do it on our own, we rely on the partner agencies that are here with us today to help,” said Lorenzen, “And we need the help of our residents as well. We want to partner with the public to prepare.”
To learn more about preparing your home and family against wildfires, visit the Ready, Set, Go! website at http://vcfd.org/Ready-Set-Go .