With especially hot temperatures and fire season starting earlier every year, Santa Clarita’s city staff has their preparedness plan in full swing.
“This is not our first rodeo,” Donna Nuzzi said. “What we have learned is that history repeats itself when you look at fires in Santa Clarita.”
Nuzzi, Santa Clarita’s emergency services supervisor, said ensuring brush is cleared and properties are properly maintained is crucial to minimizing the start of fires.
The city’s open space, trails and public buildings are pruned by Parks and Recreation and Urban Forestry in anticipation of the summer season.
Dry brush poses a threat as there is less moisture in the grass when the weather is hot, Nuzzi said.
City staff is also keeping close contact with appropriate agencies, especially the Los Angeles County Fire Department.
“Pre-meetings are important in order to meet all players and to know what everyone is doing,” Nuzzi said. “We are making sure we are updating our partners and are on point with a common voice.”
Also, Nuzzi made sure to contact all local schools to see which are in session for summer school. This allows the city to contact district officials in case a fire is near a school and prevents an emergency shelter from being set up at those campuses.
Anticipating residents’ desire to be informed of spreading fires, Nuzzi lets the community know in advance that it is more important to provide accurate, verified facts as they come in instead of providing hasty updates.
“It is really important to have accurate and concise information,” she said.
Especially in case locals are evacuated from their homes, Nuzzi said she makes a point of encouraging residents to have a family plan in place.
This primarily involves knowing in advance what belongings to take, ways to ensure safety for animals and planning where to go.
“When you have to evacuate, take heed to it,” she said. “Fire moves quickly.”
Santa Clarita’s communications department is preparing residents as well, according to Communications Specialist Mayumi Miyasato.
“We are working to get messaging out there that we need to be careful with things that could ignite fires,” Miyasato said.
This can include cigarette butts, car sparks and weed whackers, so city staff asks residents not to throw cigarettes out their windows and to keep cars and appliances well maintained.
Especially in early July, the city warns against using fireworks, which are illegal in the city and are extra dangerous with hot temperatures.
The city is also putting together a public service announcement about fire safety, which can be viewed on their Facebook page.
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