Twitter Buttons

Thursday, April 4, 2013

CAL FIRE Crews In The News

Keeping Schools Safer from Fire

Crews Cut Trees, Brush around Campuses

Pilot Rock Camp crews push brush and tree limbs into a chipper at Lake Arrowhead Elementary School, part of a larger program to reduce the potential for a fire to start near the campus.
Brush clearance and tree thinning being done at four Rim of the World Unified School District schools this week also serve as a reminder for homeowners to clear their own property, said fire officials.
“Just as we've returned to maintain this site, homeowners need to maintain the forest around their homes,” said Gerry Newcombe, president of the Arrowhead Communities Fire Safe Council.
Newcombe, a former fire chief for the City of San Bernardino, was at Lake Arrowhead Elementary School as inmate fire crews from Pilot Rock Conservation Camp were busy clearing brush and small trees.
Three full crews and a partial crew, a total of about 60 inmates, were busy clearing the areas around LAE, a Forest Health Demonstration site created in 2000 by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) and the Arrowhead Communities Fire Safe Council.
Newcombe and Cal Fire Unit Forester Glenn Barley said it was time to revisit the LAE site, as well as three other school campuses, to do fuels reduction work.
Crews are working this week because schools are closed for spring break. Because Cal Fire uses inmate crews from Pilot Rock Conservation Camp, they are not allowed to work at schools when children are present, officials said.
The other three campuses getting fuels reduction cleanup during spring break are Grandview Elementary, Mary Putnam Henck Intermediate School and Rim of the World High School.
“A lot has changed on the mountain since 2000 and everyone is more aware of the need to create a healthy fire-safe forest, especially around their home,” Newcombe said.
On Tuesday, crews at LAE were busy in several areas around the perimeter of the campus, cutting small trees 12 inches in diameter or smaller, and clearing tree limbs from near the ground up to eight feet up the trunks of trees.
Pilot Rock crews brought chippers with them, and limbs and branches were quickly turned into mulch.
“A lot of fuel reduction work has been completed by a variety of agencies across the mountain communities and now the challenge of maintaining that work begins,” said Barley.
On hand to oversee the work were Katie Benso, Cal Fire forestry assistant, and Debbie Chapman, Cal Fire captain.
Benso encouraged mountain homeowners to start their yard and hillside cleanup work now, pruning low hanging branches and thinning small trees that have grown too close to each other, and to make sure firewood is stacked away from the dwelling.
“This is a good time to remind everyone that they need to have a defensible space around their home,” Benso said, “and raking pine needles that exceed two inches in depth.”
Funding for the Forest Health Demonstration site was provided in part by a grant from the US Forest Service, and through the Arrowhead Communities Fire Safe Council.
“I'm happy to say that 90 percent of the grant money goes on the ground to help create a healthy forest,” Newcomb said. “Only 10 percent goes for administration costs.”

Twitter links

****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.
View blog top tags