By Ken Striplin
If the last few weeks have been any indication, it is going to be a destructive fire season in the Santa Clarita Valley. I want to offer my appreciation to the men and women of the Los Angeles County Fire Department, the Angeles National Forest Service and all the other agencies that have responded to local brush fires. They are battling the flames and the heat to keep our City safe.
The pictures of the recent Lake Fire were heart-stopping. The mushroom-shaped column of smoke towered over Santa Clarita and could be seen as far away as Venice Beach.
The fire grew rapidly from 50 acres to thousands of acres in just minutes. Fire crews fought the fire from the ground as fixed-wing aircrafts and helicopters dropped fire retardant and water from the air.
In situations like these, it may seem that there is nothing you can do to help, but there are steps you can take to help protect your neighborhood and our community.
The best way to deal with brush fires is to make sure they never start in the first place.
Some key fire prevention tips are to make sure matches and lighters are kept away from children.
Only start a campfire in a designated fire pit and never leave a fire unattended.
Dispose of cigarette butts in a closed container or cup of water — never throw butts out your car window.
Be cautious with vehicles and other machinery; make sure they are properly maintained and don’t use equipment that could throw off sparks near dry grass or vegetation.
To protect your home from the dangers of a wildfire, make sure that you have defensible space around your house.
Defensible space is an area around a building in which vegetation, debris and other types of combustible fuels have been treated, cleared or reduced, to slow the spread of fire to the building. This buffer around your home also provides a safe place for firefighters to battle flames.
I encourage all of you to visit the Los Angeles County Fire Department’s website to learn more about fire safety tips, how to make sure your family is prepared and what necessary preparations you should take now.
This information is all part of their wildfire action plan called Ready! Set! Go! and can be viewed at fire.lacounty.
One of the many things that makes our community special is the thousands of miles of natural preserved open space that surrounds our City. Unfortunately, this also makes our valley prone to wildfires, which have always been a natural part of our region. By ensuring that we, as individuals and families, are doing our part to prevent and prepare for wildfires, we can make the job easier for our brave firefighters.
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.