Wednesday Mar 17 2010
Do your part to prevent another destructive fire
By: Mark D’Ambrogi Fire Chief, Auburn City Fire Department
These are indeed challenging times for all public safety agencies to meet the demands for service. This past summer and fall kept Auburn City Fire personnel busy, not only here in Placer County but around the state, as well. The Auburn City Fire Department participates in the California Fire Service Statewide Mutual Aid System, a valuable tool for all fire agencies in the state of California and the Tahoe Basin. Simply described, it is the way the fire service “mobilizes” resources throughout the state where and when they are needed the most to protect life and property. Fire agencies that participate in the program receive reimbursement for personnel and equipment to offset costs incurred. Although the City of Auburn Fire Department actively participates in this program by responding to other agency needs, there will be a day when resources will be needed in our own community to assist us with a major emergency. The California Fire Service relies heavily on the Mutual Aid System to provide the high level of service experienced throughout the state. No one agency can do-it alone. We all need each other. Our Statewide Mutual Aid System is one way to continue to meet the demands in the time of need. Closer to home, this past August was the 49 Fire, which should have been a “real awakening” for all of us. We have now experienced first-hand what devastation a community endures in the event of a wildfire. With that in mind, the Auburn City Fire Department and Greater Auburn Area Fire Safe Council have developed a “Strategic Plan to Aid in the Prevention of Catastrophic Wildfire in the City of Auburn.” This plan outlines various areas where potential damage from wildfire can be reduced, especially in the application of defensible space around homes and businesses and fuels treatment to open land areas. Here is the key to the success of this plan and for that matter, any plan that addresses wildfire prevention: “us.” That is, all of us collectively: public safety agencies, elected officials and citizens alike. We are challenged with the task of taking care of our own needs in these resource-strained and fiscally stressed times. Now more than ever, we need to utilize the resources on hand, you and me, to battle against wildfire. I am asking for an all-out community effort to tackle this issue and take the lead in making our community wildfire-safe. In the months ahead, a great deal of time and effort will be spent collaborating with neighborhoods on how best to prepare and defend against wildfire. We hope to have as many homeowners actively engaged in implementing defensible space and fuel reduction programs well before the fire danger is once again upon us. The best way to do this is to start cutting, pruning and removing wood and brush fuels from around your home, at least 100 feet, if not more. And it won’t be long before those weeds become dry and prime tinder for a fire. If you or your neighborhoods need guidance on what to do, we are your resource and there for you. Call us! As always, I recommend participating in the Greater Auburn Area Fire Safe Council, a citizen organization focused on our community wildfire issues. The winter days brought rain, snow and wind, also added problems with all the downed trees, limbs, fences and other such debris substantially adding potentially more fuel to our wildfire problem. We are behind the curve on this one, so we’ll need to come out “running.” Now is the time to start the work. How will you contribute in protecting our community from wildfire? Now more than ever we all need to make things happen before another 49 Fire occurs.