In the past the wildland fire season would open and close at different times of the year, but fire officials say now the threat is almost year round.
The Newport Beach Fire Department held an information meeting Wednesday night at the OASIS Senior Center in Corona del Mar to explain vital information to help residents prepare for wildfire outbreaks.
"When there is fuel to burn and heat, you will get fire," Assistant Fire Chief Kevin Kitch said. "Corona del Mar is a prime area where we have fuel, the natural vegetation, and it burns very well when it gets very dry."
According to fire officials, the best way to prevent a wildland fire from having devastating effects is to make sure homes are prepared and residents are on the lookout for fires.
Kitch says residents should keep an eye on weather reports and know when the Santa Ana Winds are predicted, be keen to the sight and smell of smoke and make sure to sign-up for AlertOC.
The following tips can also help prepare your home:
- Residents are encouraged to create defensible space by clearing vegetation from around the home, keep woodpiles, propane tanks and combustible materials away from the home, garages and sheds.
- Make sure trees are far away from power lines
- Remove any dead trees, shrubs and plants from around your house
- Clear pine needles, leaves and other debris from roofs and gutters
- Cut tree branches that are within 10 feet of your roof
- All vent openings and eaves should be covered with metal mesh to prevent ember intrusion
- Keep working fire extinguishers around and make sure smoke alarms are installed on each level of your home and near bedrooms.
"Wind driven embers from wildfires can destroy homes from blocks away," Kitch explained. "When there are thousands of embers flying around, it's like being lava blasted. That's why it important for residents to get their homes in compliance and get ready for a wildfire because it will happen."