Mike Mingee, Chief, Carpinteria-Summerland Fire Protection District

Courtesy Photo

Mike Mingee, Chief, Carpinteria-Summerland Fire Protection District

What’s There to Learn from These Fires?

Yarnell Taught a Sobering Lesson for All

Tuesday, July 23, 2013
Article Tools
Print friendly
E-mail story
Tip Us Off
iPod friendly
Share Article

In the last few days looking over my emails, I received two that created a connection that caused me to take the time to write this opinion.

The first email was titled “Area Fuel Moistures at 10 Year Low.” The U.S. Forest Service (USFS) protects your forest in many ways. It is by no haphazard circumstance that your federal firefighting force staffs and places resources at particular locations at particular times of the year. The USFS Predictive Service forecasts where the next fire will take place — may I add, with considerable and amazing accuracy? Their previous predictions have now stated the obvious. The report says that the fuels (vegetation) in our region are dry, dry, dry. That fact became self-evident a few nights ago along the bluffs south of Summerland. That’s when an ember from a beach fire ignited the entire hillside, without any wind or excessive heat, and in the cool and moist air of 9 p.m., the same hillside vegetation that normally withstands the summer heat and drought.

The second correspondence was titled “Yarnell Was Unready for Fire.” The piece published in the Los Angeles Times was subtitled, “Most building in the Arizona town did not have the nearby growth cleared.” This community outside of Prescott will now be infamous for the human toll taken while Hot Shots worked to save the surrounding vegetation and town. As a 37-year veteran of the California fire services, I’ve heard of far too many young men and women dying in similar circumstances decade after decade. Man Gulch, Storm King, 30-Mile, Esperanza, and now Yarnell. Put bluntly from a Fire Chief’s perspective, no forest and no building is worth the loss of life we continue to experience. Stated a little more bluntly and less “PC,” a Fire Chief will not send men and women to their deaths to protect things that will either regrow or rebuild. If your son or daughter were doing this job, wouldn’t you expect their leaders to believe the same?

So what’s in this message for you, Southern Santa Barbara County residents? It is simple. First, don’t do foolish things with fire. Prepare now because when, not if, the wildfire comes, your local Fire Department and firefighters will do their very best and bravely provide those vital services you pay for with your hard-earned tax money. But we are going to avoid sending any more men and women to their deaths. The most important steps taken to assure your property survives a wildfire is not assuming these brave men and women will be there, but making your home defensible and fire resistive now.

Taking the steps to help us do our job may be simpler than you think. Common sense items like clearing vegetation, having a noncombustible roof, and removing combustible items from beside your home can make the difference between losing the structure or surviving the fire. For more information check your Fire Department website under “Ready Set Go” or contact your local Fire Department Fire Prevention Staff.

Mike Mingee is a 37-year veteran of the Fire Service and is currently the Fire Chief of the Carpinteria-Summerland Fire Protection District.


Independent Discussion Guidelines

A one sentence answer to your question is:


(And for the slow people, before we had "professional" firefighters, forests burned all the time - and it had nothing to do with "climate change" or "global warming" or any of the other crap that government, alarmist hacks try to constantly try to shove down our throats!)

spiritwalker (anonymous profile)
July 23, 2013 at 4:41 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Come off it mate, what do bigots know about forest fires. Give it a rest superwank.

lawdy (anonymous profile)
July 23, 2013 at 4:49 p.m. (Suggest removal)

First of all, I'm not your "mate". Nor am I a "bigot".

Now that I've have set you straight on those 2 matters, would you like me to explain the futility of trying to prevent natural disasters like wildfires, you petulant little pud?

spiritwalker (anonymous profile)
July 23, 2013 at 5:01 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The issue isn't natural disasters, it's how we deal with the inevitability of them.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
July 23, 2013 at 5:28 p.m. (Suggest removal)

But seriously, this "conversation" is even more ridiculous than ANYTHING that could be said about... well... ANYTHING!

Don't want your house to burn? Don't build it in an area where brush fires naturally occur. If your house does happen to be in area where catastrophic fires are common, don't expect people to risk their lives trying to"save" it.

(Good God, am I the only who got tired of hearing the "heroes" whine about dying on the job a long time ago? Really?)

spiritwalker (anonymous profile)
July 23, 2013 at 5:34 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Spirit walker , don't you have somewhere else to be ?

geeber (anonymous profile)
July 23, 2013 at 6:31 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Ooh, now things are starting to get interesting - are you asking an actual question, or is this a 'Clintonian' hypothetical like "it depends on what the meaning of is, is?"

spiritwalker (anonymous profile)
July 23, 2013 at 6:55 p.m. (Suggest removal)

It's not like the last fire near Cold Springs was started by people or anything...
We only have one planet for now, show a little respect. Outing oneself against science and fact is getting old, and it doesn't help when that kernal of truth gets dropped every year or so.

spacey (anonymous profile)
July 23, 2013 at 11:33 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Thank you Chief Mingee for all you and your colleagues do.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
July 24, 2013 at 12:15 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Look, if you clowns want to debate the "science" of "anthropomorphic global warming", I will be happy to not only wipe the floor with your mangy carcasses, I will bring it a high sheen!

spiritwalker (anonymous profile)
July 24, 2013 at 5:16 a.m. (Suggest removal)

(And when I say "high sheen", I don't mean Charlie.)

spiritwalker (anonymous profile)
July 24, 2013 at 5:35 a.m. (Suggest removal)

: described or thought of as having a human form or human attributes
: ascribing human characteristics to nonhuman things

Like dolphins who blog.

dolphinpod14 (anonymous profile)
July 24, 2013 at 5:47 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Are you trying to tell me that spacey and KV aren't actually human? (I do sometimes suspect that "people" like KV are artificial "personas", but let's try to be nice, okay?)

spiritwalker (anonymous profile)
July 24, 2013 at 6 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Oops... now I think I get "it" - I used the wrong noun when I said "anthropomorphic".

Actually, I couldn't care even a teensy bit less WHAT you call it, the whole man-made global warming meme is a money making charade ginned up by carpet baggers like Al Gore. End of story.

spiritwalker (anonymous profile)
July 24, 2013 at 6:19 a.m. (Suggest removal)

(OMG, what if "anthropomorphic" isn't a noun? What if it's an adjective or dangling participle or some such horsesh*t? Oh well, You "geniuses" will really have me on the run then, won't you?)

spiritwalker (anonymous profile)
July 24, 2013 at 6:28 a.m. (Suggest removal)

The Fire department puts it out there every year on how to be preventative in keeping your house relative safe from fires, as for the path of a fire and surviving, build your house with the mindset that your in a fire path and either go underground or build using materials that are fire preventive.

dou4now (anonymous profile)
July 24, 2013 at 8:01 a.m. (Suggest removal)

event calendar sponsored by: