By City Manager Ken Striplin
In 2020, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) recorded 13 fire incidents in Los Angeles County that burned a combined total of 39,399 acres. We are experiencing the same dry, hot and windy weather conditions this year that sparked many wildfires in 2020. For this reason, we must be knowledgeable of fire safety tips to support the Los Angeles County Fire Department and to keep our community safe.
With the 4,615-acre Tick Fire in our community’s recent history, it should serve as a sobering reminder to stay vigilant about fire safety. During the Tick Fire, 40,000 Santa Clarita residents were evacuated from their homes, and 22 structures were destroyed. If not for the heroic efforts of firefighters and fire responders, I could not imagine the potential damage to our community. This year the Los Angeles County Fire Department has already completed extraordinary work to guard Santa Clarita against the North Fire and Towsley Fire that sparked near our City. Understanding that the climate and conditions for fires to thrive already exist in our region emphasizes the importance of being cautious and prepared.
Do your part by remembering to maintain your smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors and home landscaping. The Los Angeles County Fire Department recommends creating a defensible space of 100 feet around your home by clearing dead trees, brush and vegetation. You can protect your home by taking precautions such as clearing any debris on your roof, using ember- and flame-resistant vents and having a fire extinguisher readily available. Following these essential guidelines can aid in keeping you and your neighbors safe when the next wildfire strikes.
In addition to preparing your home, I urge each of you to put together an emergency supply kit or confirm existing supply kit items are up-to-date and not expired. These types of kits and backpacks should include items such as a flashlight, change of clothing, non-perishable food, water, prescriptions, first aid kit, sanitation supplies, cash and any other essentials for you and your loved ones.
Part of preparing for a fire emergency also includes creating a wildfire action plan. Your action plan should outline important phone numbers and emergency contacts, list multiple escape routes from our community, designate an emergency meeting location and outline additional supplies that may be needed for pets or larger animals. The Los Angeles County Fire Department makes preparation easy for residents by providing Ready! Set! Go! action plan templates and resources for downloading at fire.LACounty.gov/RSG.
Waiting until a wildfire begins is often too late to make a plan. Prepare your home, emergency kits and evacuation plan now. Educate yourself, your family and your loved ones on fire prevention and preparedness today. By prioritizing fire safety and education, we also support the firefighters and first responders who work tirelessly to protect the Santa Clarita community.
Ken Striplin is Santa Clarita’s City Manager and can be reached at [email protected].