Fire crews gearing up for a busy season


Fire season is just around the corner and Fresno County fire inspectors are driving around looking for potential fire hazards. "This lot right here is full of weeds. The weeds go up right next to combustible fences so if we did have a fire here, the fire would spread onto fences and maybe somebody's homes," said Larry Brown, a Fresno County fire inspector.

A county ordinance requires any property 5 acres or less to be free of weeds. Warmer temperatures and strong winds can dry out the grassy fields, potentially sparking a flame. If a property is in violation of the ordinance, fire crews send the owner a notice to clear out the brush. Failure to take action can result in a misdemeanor.

"When the summer time comes, it's an extremely busy time of year. We have limited resources so we try to prevent fires as best we can," said Brown.

This year, rural communities may have to wait longer for aircraft to drop fire retardant on foothill wildfires after Cal Fire announced it will move its Fresno air attack base to Porterville to save money.

Firefighters have still been going door to door, conducting defensible space inspections. "It's very critical because these defensible space inspections could help the homeowners should there be a fire in that area," said Capt. John Dominguez, with Cal Fire.

A 100 ft. clearance is required around homes high-above to slow down the spread of a wildfire. Overhanging branches on the roof of a structure are also hazardous. "We're still dry throughout the state of California but we always got to expect with every year that we're going to have large, damaging wildfires," said Dominguez.

Fire officials say they're doing what they can to prevent a disastrous fire but residents need to do their part as well.

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