CAL FIRE Sonoma-Lake-Napa Unit has experienced over 103,000 acres of large and destructive wildland fires in just the last three months. These fires include the Wragg Fire starting in Napa County (July 22), along with the Rocky (July 29), Jerusalem (Aug 9), Peterson (Aug 22), Grade (Aug 24) and Elk Fire (Sept 2), all starting in Lake County.
While these fires continue to be in different stages of investigation, CAL FIRE would like the public to be advised of the following: The majority of these fires appear to be caused by people that allowed a spark or hot material to come in contact with dry grass without realizing it was going to result in an unwanted fire. Examples would include mowing dry grass with a metal blade or mowers designed for green grass, and hot engines or exhaust in direct contact with dry grass.
“Residents need to use extreme caution and avoid any activity that may cause a spark during these critically dry conditions,” said Scott Upton, CAL FIRE’s Sonoma-Lake-Napa unit chief. “Doing the right thing the wrong way or at the wrong time puts citizen and firefighter lives at risk. We want folks to maintain their defensible space around their homes but this must be done during the winter, spring, and early summer months when conditions are less dangerous, NOT during this critical fire hazard time.”
Penalties for causing a fire that escapes control and/or burns the property of others can be devastating. State law includes civil cost collection for the public cost of the fire and can include criminal charges, especially when there are injuries or death as a result of the fire.
Are you doing the right thing, the wrong way? Here’s how to do it the right way:
■ Do yard maintenance with powered equipment before 10 a.m., not during the heat of the day or when the wind is blowing.
■ Never use lawn mowers on dry grass or brush.
■ Remove any rocks in and around the area before operating equipment.
■ Be sure your portable gas powered equipment has a spark arrester.
■ Never re-fuel while equipment is still hot from use.
■ Keep the equipment maintained and free of carbon and other buildup.
With the continued threat of wildfires, CAL FIRE is asking all Californians to ensure they are prepared for wildfires and help prevent sparking a wildfire. Remember, One Less Spark, means One Less Wildfire. Visit www.PreventWildfireCA.org to learn more on how to prevent wildfire. To learn more on how to be prepared for a wildfire visit www.ReadyForWildfire.org. Additional fire safety tips can be found at www.fire.ca.gov.■