Picture from the Ventura County Fire Department's Twitter feed . It was taken inside of a responding truck. Notice the specks of embers visible from the window.
I went back to California to visit my children for the holidays. It was nice to be back but El Nino conditions created cold wet weather during most of my stay. One day during my visit, there were some warm, strong Santa Ana winds. It reminded me of wildfire seasons in the past. Perusing the, I discovered that there was a wildfire burning in Solimar Beach in Ventura County, not very far away from where my daughter lives. This wildfire consumed more than 1,388 acres and forced evacuations of a local campground, with more than 600 firefighters responding to the blaze, according to a Channel 4 news report on December 26, 2015. The fire literally burned all the way to the ocean.
That day, I had also visited a community in Topanga Canyon, close to the Santa Monica National Forest. The terrain was rugged and the winds were gusty as I slowly drove the two lane road up to the community. There had been a deadly fire in the 1960s called the Belair-Brentwood Fire that destroyed many homes and cost people their lives. The current residents were aware of their risks and ad begun working with the California Fire Safe Council using grant funding to work together to lessen their risks as identified in their Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP). They were also interested in working together to create Firewise neighborhoods. Each neighborhood that I visited had a different flavor and different critical needs as well as similar ones that needed to be worked on by homeowners and agencies to reduce wildfire risks to life and property.
You can work together with your neighbors to build a Firewise neighborhood that is more resilient in the event of a wildfire disaster. There are currently 101 active Firewise recognized communities in California, all working towards a common goal of wildfire safety with the California Fire Safe Council acting as the Firewise state liaison and Anne Pandey serving currently as their representative. Learn more by visiting the California Fire Safe Council website or the Firewise website . </p>