Five area fire agencies will increase on-duty staff and available equipment as of Monday, April 13, which the fire chiefs have determined to be the start of this year’s high fire season. This winter’s record-breaking heat and the drought concern the fire agencies — Los Padres National Forest, Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, CalFire/San Luis Obispo County, and CalFire/Monterey — as they have resulted in significant amounts of dead brush, oaks, and fallen timber.
Humans have been the cause of many large fires of recent history, some sparked with less-than-obvious fire-starters like a kite or weed whacker, and shoulda-known-better ones like hot car exhaust, grinding sparks, and inadequately extinguished fires. In a joint news release, the five agencies advise homeowners, gardeners, and vacationers to be extra careful on hot and windy days.
Homes in the wildland areas are required to keep a 100-foot area of defensible space around structures, within which combustible vegetation has been thinned to keep fire from spreading to the structure. In all wildland areas, spark arresters are required on all gasoline-powered engines and equipment, tracer ammo and fireworks are prohibited, and permits are required for spark-producing grinding and cutting. Burn permits are unsanctioned in some areas and still allowed in others; check with your local fire department.