County Firefighters are in the Heat of the Battle Against Wildfires

By Staff Reports

(Victor Valley)– Fires are continuing to range throughout California, with well over one million acres having burned since August 15. Combating these blazes are more than 14,000 brave men and women — including many from the San Bernardino County Fire Department.

“Our people are battling multiple fires throughout the state, assisting in wildfire suppression and lending both equipment and expertise to the effort,” said Fire Chief Dan Munsey. “They are working with fire personnel from federal, state and local agencies on a collaborative effort to protect property and save lives.”

Many of the fires ravaging the state have been triggered by lightning, with an estimated 11,000 lightning strikes responsible for some 367 fires, which are then exacerbated by dry conditions and searing temperatures. The most devastating fires are largely concentrated in the northern part of the state.

The County Fire Department is part of the state’s Master Mutual Aid system, a cooperative emergency-response program established to fight major forest and brush wildfires. County firefighters, management and equipment are dispatched to areas of the state facing the greatest threats. For example, County firefighters previously battling the Lake Fire in north Los Angeles County were recently redeployed to the Carmel Fire near Salinas. County crews are also contributing to the fight against the LNU Lightning Complex, primarily focusing on preventing the destruction of structures.

Chief Munsey stressed, however, that while County firefighters have traveled north to fight some of the state’s worst fires, the department has not neglected local blazes.

“We have fought the Ranch 2 Fire in the Angeles National Forest, the Dome Fire in the desert between the I-15 and I-40 highways, and a vegetative fire in Joshua Tree, among others,” Chief Munsey said. “At the same time, we’re careful to ensure that our own stations are covered, and regularly respond to small fires in the County before they become more dangerous conflagrations.”

San Bernardino County Fire resources deployed to other counties are fully reimbursed for all costs through the Master Mutual Aid agreement.

Munsey also noted that peak fire season — which is typically occurs between late September and the end of October — is still more than a month away. He emphasized the steps local residents can take to reduce the threat and help protect their own homes and businesses.

“We have created a series of tools and materials to help County residents prepare for potential fires, all of which can be found on the San Bernardino County Fire website. Our “Ready! Set! Go! – Fire” program provides a wealth of information that can make the difference between inconvenience and disaster.”

He urged residents to download the San Bernardino Community Preparedness App, which features a five-step family emergency plan creation wizard, relevant news and timely alerts from the County, live information on evacuation routes and shelters, one-button status sharing, and a library of emergency preparedness eGuides.

Chief Munsey also suggested following the department’s Twitter and Facebook feeds to access updated information on an almost real-time basis.

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