Friday, April 27 , 2018, 2:08 am | Fair 48º


Santa Barbara County Crews Sent to Help Fight Wildfires

The Santa Barbara County Fire Department has dispatched one wildland firefighting strike team of 19 firefighters, five Type III Brush Engine Companies and a Strike Team leader and trainee to assist in battling the 41 Fire burning in Madera County, 10 miles north of Fresno.

Strike Team 9322 Charlie was sent first to a staging area and then assigned duties on a division of the fire Wednesday morning.

Since Sunday, the department has sent 12 firefighters to battle the Indians Fire burning in Monterey County west of King City. Most of the firefighters are serving in overhead command and control positions or as Strike Team leaders for engines from other agencies.

On Thursday, Forest Supervisor Peggy Hernandez closed until further notice a portion of Los Padres National Forest in Monterey County because of the fire. She said the closure prohibits all public entry to national forest lands, trails, roads and recreation sites within the closed area.

Santa Barbara County fire crews have responded to 33 vegetation fires within the county so far this year, and provided Strike Teams of Engines and Command personnel for out-of-county fires five times this year.

Since May 1, the Santa Barbara County Fire Department has been conducting inspections of properties that are located in the rural and high fire-hazard areas throughout the county. State Law requires that all structures in the rural and high fire-hazard areas create and maintain 100 feet of defensible space year-round.

Each year, hundreds of homes in rural and high fire-hazard areas are lost to wildfires. Upwards of 80 percent of those homes lost to wildfires possibly could have been saved if homeowners provided defensible space around their home and used fire-resistant construction materials.

For information on making a home fire safe by creating a “defensible space,” visit the Santa Barbara County Fire Department Web site or visit any Santa Barbara County fire station.

Eli Iskow is a captain with the Santa Barbara County Fire Department.

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