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Fire Department Urging Residents to Prepare for Wildfires

Fire officials will be passing out information tonight at 5:30 p.m. at the Corona del Mar annual Town Hall Meeting at Sherman Library and Gardens.

The Newport Beach Fire Department is reaching out to residents in order to get them prepared for wildfire outbreaks.

The department has created an informative series -- consisting of community outreach, mailers and community presentations --  to educate residents about the potential dangers and prevention of wildfire outbreaks in Newport Beach and to introduce them to state fire maps that show which homes are located in a Fire Hazard Severity Zone.

Jennifer Schulz, spokeswoman for the Newport Beach Fire Department, says although wildfires were detectable in the past, over recent years they have become less succinct in their predictability.

“The wildland fire season used to open and close at certain times of the year but has now become almost year round," Schulz explained. "We want to make citizens aware of all disasters that can happen here in Newport Beach and this is one component of a general plan to get our residents disaster prepared."

State fire maps detail which residential areas are considered to be Fire Hazard Severity Zones. Schulz said homeowners in those areas may be required to create defensible space, build reconstructed and new homes to fire resistive standards and disclose that the property is in the designated zone.

“We’ve seen over the past several years the destruction a wildfire can do,” Schulz said. “The state maps were initiated because of houses being destroyed in order to make people aware of the hazards.”

The Newport Beach Fire Department is encouraging associations and groups throughout the city to schedule meetings with the Department in order to adopt the maps and understand how they may affect various homes and neighborhoods. For more information, to schedule meetings and to learn about upcoming events residents may log onto the Newport Beach Fire Department website at http://www.nbfd.net/ or contact Jennifer Biddle at 949-644-3106.

-Lauren DeMello

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