Author - Sabrina L. Drill
Kudos to the Ventura County Fire Department, Conejo Open Space Conservation Agency, National Park Service, US Forest Service, and California State Parks for addressing this very important gap in fire preparedness information. I remember on my first solo backpacking trip near Mt. Whitney waking up one morning to the smell of smoke, and cutting my trip a few nights short to get out of there (turned out the fire was in Monterey County, but the smoke blew inland).
From the guide - "The Ready, Set, Go! Trail Users program is about being prepared (ready), situational awareness – knowing what's going on around you (set) – and getting out of harm's way (go!). By following a few simple steps, trail users can enjoy the natural beauty of Ventura County without putting themselves in the path of a wildfire."
Tips include when, where, and how to safely have a campfire or use a stove, and steps to prepare before your trip:
"• Before you leave, tell someone when and where you will be. This is especially important if you will be travelling alone. Be sure to take a fully charged cell phone and some sort of signaling device with you. This could be as simple as a whistle or a mirror. • Take protective clothing including long pants and long sleeves made of a natural fiber, a bandana to filter smoky air and a hat to keep embers from falling on your head. • Have good maps with you and pre-plan your escape routes. A fire could block your path and prevent you from going out the same way you came in."
- Author: Rose Marie Hayden-Smith
Current fire activity in Ventura County reminds us that fire season is here. It's critical to be prepared. Here are some important resources to help you get ready and stay apprised of fire activity in Ventura County.
Here are other resources we recommend:
- Fire in California This is UC ANR's comprehensive fire resources website. This site contains the latest information on fire ecology; wildfire preparation; health and safety in wildfires; wildfire recovery; and more. Useful information for homeowners, land owners and land stewards.
- CA Fire Science Consortium is a network of scientists and managers that strives to increase the awareness, understanding, and adoption of wildland fire science information.
- LUC Lab at UC-Berkeley researching land and land use change.
- ReadyForWildfire.org CalFire's fire resources website, which provides many valuable resources for preparedness.
- **NEW Wildfire Risk to Communities maps by US Forestry Service
Be sure to follow our UCCE Livestock & Range page on Facebook. Advisor Matthew Shapero helms that page and often posts fire information there. If you haven't had an opportunity to meet Matthew, you can learn more about his work in this blog post.
ICYMI, here's a #goodread about Pandemic and Wildfire: California is Preparing for a Crisis Within a Crisis
- Author: Cris L. Johnson
Drought is a regular threat here in Southern California where dry conditions prevail. The National Weather Services will holding two talks related to drought at California State University, Channel Islands. The talks are a part of the Environmental Science and Resource Management (ESRM) speaker's series and will feature speakers from local Weather Forecast offices.
We are currently experiencing drought conditions which can lead to fires and subsequent threats of flash floods and debris flows. The speakers will address these issues and how partnerships with local services can help minimize potential damage. The topics will cover:
- Growing Fire Weather Threat in Southern California
- Drought and Post Fire Flash Floods and Debris Flows
If you are interesting in attending:
Dates: February 13 and February 20, 2014
Time: 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
California State University, Channel Islands
1360 Broome Library
One University Dr.
Camarillo, CA 93012
Contact: Don Rodriguez, firstname.lastname@example.org
See here for more information.
- Author: Cris L. Johnson
The latest issue has recently been posted on our website and features articles on:
Cultural Practices to Reduce Pest and Disease in Avocado and Citrus. This article by UC Ventura County Cooperative Extension advisor Dr. Ben Faber provides guidelines for practices from selection to maintenance that can mitigate disease and pests in trees.
Polyphagous Shot Hole Borer in California. UC Cooperative Extension cross-county advisor Dr. Sabrina Drill discusses this pest and it's effects on Southern Californian trees.
Electronic "sniffer" for Detecting HLB. Dr. Faber also reports on a new device that can detect Huanglongbing (HBL) disease in trees. Learn more about how it works and the advantage it could provide in preventing HLB spread through early detection.
Important Information Sources Related to Fire Management and Protection. The fire season is still on us and this list of online and publshed resources provides useful information for property owners.
Bee Kill in Oregon - A reminder of pesticide use. The State of Oregon has issued a moratorium on an aphid control pesticide after its use killed a large amount of bumble bees. Read more about following the proper guidelines on pesticide use here.
- Author: Marissa Palin
I’m from San Diego. We don’t get a whole lot of extreme weather in San Diego. My comfortable temperature tends to range from 70 to 80 degrees. We don’t get snow, no hurricanes, no tornadoes. But we do get the Santa Anas—hot dry winds blowing out of the desert. Which means we get wildfires. I’m fairly familiar with wildfires. So much so, that I once mistook snow falling from the sky for ash falling from the sky. (Like I said, I’m from Southern California).
Our last big fires were in 2007, when half a million people were evacuated from their homes, including myself. It was a scary time. In San Diego, we were surrounded. There were fires to the north, east and south of us, and the ocean to our west. There was no way out. So much of Southern California was up in smoke, satellite images made it look like the entire bottom half of our state was burning. For weeks after, we walked around wearing masks as the winds tried to make up their minds about which way to blow the smoke. At the time I worked for a social service program with a fairly robust wildfire recovery program, and I saw firsthand the damage the fires had caused for so many families.
Now, five years later, wildfire season is once again upon us, and conditions aren’t looking so good. California rainfall was below-average this year, causing our vegetation to dry out sooner than expected. When you mix that with the high temperatures being predicted for this summer, the threat for fire danger is high. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has already started putting out critical fire weather headlines for Southern California, and elsewhere in the southwest.
Help mitigate this fire season by making sure you’re prepared. UC Agriculture and Natural Resources has a wealth of information to help you mitigate the wildfire potential in your area and keep your home safe. The Homeowner’s Wildfire Mitigation Guide, The Combustibility of Landscape Mulches and Fire Information Engine Toolkit compiled by scientists from UC Cooperative Extension and UC Berkeley are great resources for homeowners in fire-prone areas. The information will help you understand how houses ignite and what to look for when fire-proofing your home this season.
Landowners living in the wildland urban interface will find this S.A.F.E. Landscapes Southern California Guidebook useful for creating fire safe landscapes to help protect their homes. Likewise,Wildfire Zone, a collaboration between University of California Cooperative Extension and the County of San Diego, offers tips for reducing the risks and hazards of wildfires both in English and Spanish. More resources can also be found in the ANR Catalog.
Smokey says “Only you can prevent forest fires.” He’s right. Do your part, and make sure you’re prepared this wildfire season.