Fire and water have at different times put fear into foothill residents. The fear of a devastating summer wildfire is a constant thought on many residents’ minds. The loss of water for a prolonged period of time recently left some Placer County agricultural water customers with a fearful outlook at the future of their crops for this summer. One common way to address fears is to face them and find solutions to them. For residents of the foothills, one of the best ways to allay concerns regarding natural disasters in our area is to be prepared. In this year’s Fire & Water special section, which is inserted into today’s Journal, homeowners can learn from the experts just how to be as ready as possible for an emergency. They can also learn how to be fire safe and water savvy year round. The April 19 Bear River Canal break rightfully caused a flurry of panic and concern about the county’s water supply for the summer. Initially the agriculture community was expected to face a $10 million loss. Fortunately, quick work by the Placer County Water Agency, Pacific Gas & Electric Co. and a little help from Mother Nature stalled any major damage until the canal was fixed and operational as of June 6. In today’s special section, you’ll find comments from PCWA manager Dave Breninger about the canal break and read some of the Journal’s coverage of the incident. You might also pick up some water conservation tips that can help lower your use throughout the year. In addition to finding ways to be water friendly, you can read how to make your home more fire safe should the worst occur. Auburn residents saw the power of a devastating fire up close when the 49 Fire ripped through the community Aug. 30, 2009, destroying 63 homes and two businesses. Our local Cal Fire Chief Brad Harris will go over some pointers for homeowners looking to defend their homes from flames. Fire safety and water conservation should be concerns at the forefront of every foothill resident’s mind year round. In addition to cutting back your water bill and insurance costs, homeowners can also reduce their carbon footprint and help keep their homes intact should disaster strike. So take a few minutes with Fire & Water and learn how you can be a smart and prepared homeowner.