The last few years have brought catastrophic and devastating wildfires causing death and destruction to California communities. Climate change, abnormal weather patterns, forest health or lack of, all have an impact on wildfire. While it will take years to change our forest landscapes and adapt to climate change, what can we do right now?
Each of us has a role in protecting our lives and properties. Hardening our homes from wildfire by implementing defensible space and fuel reduction projects around our communities may provide safeguards but is it enough?
A big piece of the wildfire protection equation are local fire agencies; our first responders. They respond every day to our medical emergencies, vehicle accidents, public assists, and fires. Their mission is to effectively and quickly respond to an emergency and provide intervention be it lifesaving measures for a medical emergency or fighting fire to keep it from spreading through our landscapes and homes.
While no one fire agency has enough resources to handle the worst case scenario event, do we have adequate resources to handle the day-to-day events to keep from becoming large scale disasters similar to what has occurred recently? With minimal funding, increased demands for services, escalating cost of equipment and training, many of our local fire agencies are having difficulties to provide even the services we experience today. There is an expectation when 9-1-1 is called for a medical or fire emergency that many well-equipped and well-trained personnel will arrive in a timely manner and mitigate the situation.
We spend thousands of dollars each year for homeowners and business insurance hoping to never use it. But are we willing to fund a little more for our local fire agencies? After all, they do make a difference.
In this day and age, we are going to need all resources available to help prevent what we have witnessed the last couple of years. My worst case scenario, my defensible space won’t mean a thing if my local fire agency is not able to respond quickly when I need them.
Mark D'Ambrogi, Weimar