The drought conditions that have kept fields and orchards parched are also setting the stage for what could be a very busy and intense fire season.
In preparation California fire departments, including the Turlock Fire Department and the Turlock Rural Fire Department, are conducting wildland training sessions.
The training sessions are designed to reproduce an actual wildland fire scene, using specific fire control measures for all of the firefighters. The two departments are training together on wildland firefighting strategies including, communications, handline construction, hoselays and equipment inventory.
The training sessions were held Wednesday and Thursday and a third is set for Sunday. The sessions run from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the area of S. Kilroy and Spengler Way. The departments are advising people to drive with caution in the area, as smoke could be heavy.
The expected busy fire season also has Cal Fire amping up staffing.
“We have been increasing our staffing levels since January as drought conditions have continued to leave our region in an elevated threat for wildfires,” said Chief Keith Larkin, Cal Fire Northern Region chief. “As we are staffed up, we continue to ask the public to ensure they too are prepared for this year’s fire season.”
This year, Cal Fire has already responded to nearly 1,300 wildfires, more than twice as many fires as average. With fire season now officially underway in these areas, Cal Fire is asking homeowners to ensure that they are prepared for wildfires and that every home has 100 feet of Defensible Space.
Here are some tips to help prepare homes:
• Maintain 100 feet of defensible space
• Clear all pine needles and leaves from your yard, roof and rain gutters.
• Trim branches six feet from the ground.
• Landscape with fire resistant/drought tolerant plants
Residents and visitors are also warned to take steps to prevent wildfires by remembering that One Less Spark, means One Less Wildfire.
• Use trimming, mowing and powered equipment outdoors before 10 a.m.
• Check to ensure burning outdoors is allowed in your area. CAL FIRE has banned outdoor burning in many areas or has required a burn permit.
• Completely extinguish all campfires.
• Make sure trailer chains and other parts of your vehicle are not dragging on the road.