by Karen Zarsadiaz-Ige. Photos by Douglas Morrison.
Fire Chief Daryl Osby stood alongside representatives from various fire agencies to discuss this year’s fire season at a mid-morning news conference in Diamond Bar on Monday, June 5, 2017.
The news conference followed a morning meeting of representatives from the Los Angeles County Fire Department, the United States Forest Service, CAL FIRE, California Office of Emergency Services, Los Angeles City Fire Department, Orange County Fire Authority, San Bernardino County Fire Department, Santa Barbara County Fire Department, Ventura County Fire Department, San Luis Obispo Fire Department, Riverside County Fire Department, San Marcos Fire Department and other agencies from throughout Southern California.
During the news conference, Chief Osby advised residents not to take the abundant rainfall from recent storms as a sign of a mild season ahead. “We will have a hotter than normal summer and we are expected to see more complexities,” he warned. “There is new grass crop on top of five years of dead growth.”
Although the winter and spring storms were helpful in easing some of the effects of the five-year drought, they have also contributed to the growth of more grass which is rapidly starting to dry out. The drying grass and dead growth can create easily ignitable fuel and undesirable conditions.
“We’ve had a lot of fire activity already,” added Thom Porter, Southern Region Chief for CAL FIRE. “We’ve had a chance to sharpen our tools and now we’re ready for more. Fire season is already here.”
With temperatures slowly starting to rise, fire officials urged property owners to clear their brush and to prepare their families for emergencies by having supplies and an evacuation plan in place.