Powerful winds with gusts of up to 80 mph has fueled a wildfire that has now burned more than 800 acres in the mountains near Rancho Cucamonga, some 40 miles east of Los Angeles in the San Bernardino National Forest, according to news reports. Powerful Santa Ana winds are largely responsible for the quick moving Etiwanda Fire that also forced the evacuation of more than 1,000 homes yesterday afternoon. Fire officials have since lifted the evacuation order.
The gusty winds combined with temperatures nearing 100 degrees prompted red flag warnings across much of this region on Wednesday. According to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire), months of severe drought conditions across California has put the state at risk for one of its most severe fire seasons ever.
Cal Fire spokesman Daniel Berland, in an interview with ABC News 10 says, “These drought conditions that we’re seeing are absolutely playing a huge factor in the size and the number of wildfires we’re responding to.” Berland went on to say that, “Northern California (also) has the above average potential for large and damaging wildfires.”
Cal Fire has announced that since the start of the year, it has responded to nearly 900 wildfires that has burned close to 2,400 acres, nearly triple the average number and acreage for the same time period in years past.
In light of these wildfire events and the severity of the situation, the department has urged residents to take an active role in protecting their homes by creating defensible space around their property. Firewise has a number of resources to help residents do just that.
NFPA’s Firewise Tips Checklist for Homeowners walks you through the simple yet effective action items that help create this defensible space around your home. NFPA’s wildfire division has also created a safety tips sheet that lists the steps that you can do right now to reduce the risk of damage from impending wildfires. Looking for information on emergency planning and preparedness? NFPA's consumer safety pages provide a great number of resources and information to help you plan for an evacuation, create an emergency supply kit, and more.
As the warm summer months approach and with hotter than normal temperatures, high winds and severe drought conditions affecting much of the country, it’s now more important than ever to take a stand for wildfire safety. Learn more about protecting your home and creating safer more fire adapted communities today. Because every little bit you do today makes a huge difference tomorrow ...
Photo: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times / April 30, 2014