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Monday, November 7, 2011

NorOps: SCU/CZU declare end to 2011 fire season today

Cal Fire will declare an end to the 2011 fire season today, Nov. 7, and reduce seasonal staffing at Cal Fire Alma Helitack Fire Station 13 on Santa Cruz Highway in Los Gatos, Cal Fire Burrell Fire Station 47 and Cal Fire Saratoga Summit Fire Station 21.

Cal Fire provides fire suppression service to the mountainous area of Los Gatos through the Santa Clara and Santa Cruz units. The latter two stations are funded by the Santa Cruz County Fire Department and remain open year-round.

This season, resources from the Santa Cruz Cal Fire unit responded to 724 wildland and other fires within the county's state responsibility area.

Officials reported 100 percent of wildland fires were kept to less than 10 acres due to aggressive firefighting, cooperative responses from other fire agencies, and sufficient defensible space.

Cal Fire announced it maintains a full time staff of nearly 5,000 Firefighters and staff for all emergency response capability year round. The Santa Clara Unit also maintains a full time firefighting staff to respond to all emergency incidents within our administrative unit as well.

The closing of the so-called peak wildfire season does not lessen residents' responsibilities to be fire safe, according to Cal Fire spokesman Chris W. Morgan.

He said now is a good time to service home heating systems, clean chimneys, check smoke detectors and check or install your new carbon monoxide detectors, required by law in every home in California as of July 1.

Cal Fire Unit Chief John Ferreira also encouraged residents to maintain at least 100 feet of defensible space around their homes and other structures, even during the rainy season, as winds can quickly dry fuels and increase fire danger.

Cal Fire will continue to staff engines as a part of cooperative agreements for professional, all-risk, year-round emergency services.

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****REMINDER**** Every fire has the ability to be catastrophic. The wildland fire management environment has profoundly changed. Growing numbers of communities, across the nation, are experiencing longer fire seasons; more frequent, bigger, and more severe, fires are a real threat. Be careful with all campfires and equipment.
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