By City Manager Ken Striplin
Rising temperatures and increasing winds in Southern California can create the perfect conditions for a fire to spark in our community, and we’ve had several significant brush fires in the last couple of weeks. By being aware and informed of fire season safety tips, we can support the heroes in the Los Angeles County Fire Department and help them better perform their job responsibilities.
Just last year, parts of our community were devastated by the Tick Fire. Beginning at Tick Canyon Road and Summit Knoll Road in Canyon Country, the Tick Fire burned through 4,615 acres, damaging 27 structures and destroying 22 structures in the process. We saw 40,000 of our residents evacuated from their homes, the largest in City history, with concerns about what they would be returning to once the fire was out.
I am so grateful to the efforts of the Los Angeles County Fire Department for working tirelessly to protect our community and the lives of our residents. Their organization and quick response prevented further devastation from occurring in Santa Clarita. Each of us must do our part to keep Santa Clarita safe and to avoid another devastating fire, such as last November’s Tick Fire.
How can you help keep our community safe from fires? Start by accounting for flammable items in your home and by regularly maintaining your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.
Fast-moving and dangerous brush fires can also be a risk to your home and our community if your yard and landscaping are not properly maintained.
Outside of your home, ensure flammable vegetation and other combustible growth are not within 30 feet of your structure. It is also encouraged to landscape with plants that are drought tolerant and fire-resistant as a safety precaution.
Regular maintenance and removal of dead leaves and branches are important as well for your safety and the safety of your neighbors.
Once items in and outside your home have been assessed, make sure you’re Ready! Set! Go! Personal Wildfire Action Plan is prepared. This plan should be developed with you and any additional members of your household in case of a fire in our community.
The action plan should outline important phone numbers and emergency contacts, list essential items to be included in your emergency supply kit, designate an emergency meeting location and outline additional supplies that may be needed for pets or larger animals.
Ready! Set! Go! action plan templates and checklists may be downloaded from fire.LACounty.gov/RSG.
Prevention and preparedness go hand and hand, so I ask that you please practice the fire safety tips outlined to be an active participant in protecting our community. We are fortunate to live in Southern California, where the weather is warm, and the sun shines for the majority of the year.
With that also comes a year-round responsibility to support our firefighters and community by taking fire prevention seriously. We have shown how strong our community is time and time again, so let’s continue to do so by doing our part to prevent fires in Santa Clarita!
Ken Striplin can be reached at [email protected]. The views expressed in his column are those of the City and do not necessarily reflect those of The Signal.