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Southern California Agencies Share Outlook for 2012 Fire Season

Officials say this year’s fire season is four to six weeks ahead of normal

On Monday, Santa Barbara County Fire Chief Michael Dyer represented the Santa Barbara County Operational Area at the annual 2012 Fire Season Opening Press Conference, held in Diamond Bar.

Fire agencies in attendance included the Los Angeles County Fire Department, the U.S. Forest Service, CAL FIRE, the California Emergency Management Agency, the Orange County Fire Authority, the Santa Barbara County Fire Department, the Ventura County Fire Department, the Los Angeles City Fire Department and other fire agencies from throughout Southern California.

Fire officials shared important elements of the 2012 Fire Season outlook, and other important information and safety information for those most likely to be impacted by the devastating effects of a wildland fire. California’s Mutual Aid Plan was also discussed and resource availability was updated.

Due to the less-than-normal rainfall for the Southern California region (about 50 percent of normal), the predicted above normal temperatures and live fuel moisture levels approaching 80 percent, a busy, early fire season is predicted. This year’s fire season is four to six weeks ahead of normal, and the region has already experienced twice as many fires this season as last season at this time

Government statistics show that 90 percent of wildfires are started by human activity. People and their activities such as careless debris burning (trash, brush and leaf piles) sparks from welding and grinding equipment, carelessly discarded smoking materials, hot vehicle pollution control equipment and arson. These fires are 100 percent preventable.

Residents are encouraged to have their personal wildfire action plan in place to help protect your family and your property. For more information about creating a wildfire action plan click here for Ready! Set! Go!

— Capt. David Sadecki is a public information officer for the Santa Barbara County Fire Department.

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