California is currently in peak fire season, and as the state reels from an onslaught of wildfires, Sacramento Metro Fire Department has some tips to protect yourself.
“Everybody always thinks that fire season is earlier in the season in the heart of summer – July and September – when it’s super-hot,” said Sac Metro Fire Captain Chris Vestal.
“However, what we had this year with the north winds – and we always get those in late fall in Northern California – was super dry winds, several days in a row, and then any fire that starts with the low humidity and the low fuel moisture is super easy to take off,” Vestal said.
Vestal noted there are some tips and ways people at home can get out of the house should a fire come their way:
- Every second counts; find two ways out and “close before you doze:”
“Both things will allow you to get out of a fire, because if you close your door and compartmentalize the fire and you limit the spread. It’s not just the fire you’re worried about but also the hazardous gasses – the carbon monoxide – which often times injures and kills people prior to the heat or the actual fire itself.”
- Close your doors before you go to sleep.
- Blow out any candles burning before you go to sleep.
- Make sure you create your defensible space (especially if you’re living in the “wilder areas.”
This can help give firefighters a chance to protect your house during one of those fast-moving fires.
Vestal added when you have areas in California that densely populated, with plenty of people living in forested areas, he said it’s no surprise that the area has so many devastating fires caused by humans.
There is a concern, too, Vestal notes, these types of devastating fires are growing and spreading faster than they did in the past.
“I think we’ve seen that in the last couple of years in Napa with a few different fires; we had two last year,” Vestal said. “And then also in the Tuolumne area over the last two years, with big fires that grew exponentially at night time in what calmer burning conditions.”
Fire officials have now launched an interactive map of the fires burning across the state. Zoom and scroll to see active burn areas, fire perimeters, and more. (Note: You can scroll to other parts of the state to see more fire information.)