Guest Column: You Say That Every Year

Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna

This will be the worst fire season ever. Fire officials preach this every year and what do we hear back? “You say that every year!”

But when we say it, it is true.

Let me explain… Take a five-gallon can of gasoline and place it in your garage this year. Do it again next year. Every year your garage doesn’t burn, you add another five-gallon can of gasoline. After five – 10 years, you now have an additional 25 – 50 gallons of gasoline in the garage. It will burn with tremendous heat and spread very quickly and out of control.

The same goes with the fuels (vegetation) on our hillsides. Every year an area does not burn, more fuels grow. Each year the fuels continue to grow in the hillsides promoting/supporting additional fuels. Eventually, the hills will burn and now the fuel load is full and very explosive just like if you stored additional fuel (gasoline) in your garage each year.

The recent winter rains have doubled and even tripled the fuels in our hillsides. As I write this, we are seeing several large-scale fires burning at a rapid rate of spread due to heavy fire loads and conditions. These fires are burning out of control, consuming thousands of acres within short time frames and requiring resources to battle these fires from out of state.

Let’s also keep in mind Santa Ana Fire Season (generally late September through November) has not arrived.  This will increase the severity even greater.

So, when we say it, we mean it!  Believe us — this will be our worst fire season ever.

Are you ready?