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High Fire Season Starts Sunday in Santa Barbara County

Santa Barbara County officials are urging residents to be on alert with high fire season officially set to begin on Sunday.

That means that all burn permits issued for hazard reduction will be suspended, and Santa Barbara County Fire Department officials will be increasing resources such as crews, engines and helicopters to reported vegetation fires during the high fire season, according to Capt. David Sadecki.

He urged residents to maintain vegetation clearance around structures, have an evacuation plan, and to use extra caution when traveling or staying in the wildland areas of the county.

Santa Barbara City Fire wildland fire specialist Ann Marx told Noozhawk that because of the early fire season, people should remain vigilant when doing brush and grass clearance, making sure to do clearance work in the morning hours before noon.

Gas-powered equipment, such as chainsaws or weed whips, should always have a spark arrestor, and a metal blade shouldn’t be used on weed whips, she said.

“Have a fire extinguisher, water or shovel near where you are working,” she added.

Defensible space around homes and structures can also mean the difference between surviving a wildfire, so property owners should make sure they meet the requirements.

After Sunday, Santa Barbara City Fire will be increasing its response on vegetation fires to three engines, Marx said.

Los Padres National Forest’s Andrew Madsen also spoke about the high fire season announcement, though the Forest Service operates by federal guidelines and will be announcing in a couple of weeks that fire restrictions will be commencing in the forest as well, he said.

In general, “we’re always in that posture,” Madsen said.

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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