SACRAMENTO, CA – Yesterday’s press event in Pollock Pines kicked off Fire Awareness Week that is the first out of five events scheduled throughout California. Cal OES Director Mark Ghilarducci joined Cal Fire Director Chief Pimlott, CA Natural Resources Agency Secretary Laird, CA Military Department General Baldwin, Amador El Dorado Unit Chief Kaslin, U.S. Forest Region 5 Regional Forester Moore and other officials who had a chance to speak about the importance of Wildfire Awareness Week.
The purpose of Wildfire Awareness Week is to raise public awareness of wildfires and promote actions that reduce the risk from wildfire to homes and communities. Fifteen states and four Canadian provinces will observe Wildfire Awareness Week this year. The International Association of Wildland Fire has proclaimed May 3-9 to be “Global Wildfire Awareness Week”.
“It’s no accident that the King’s fire is the backdrop for today’s press conference,” said Cal Fire Chief Ken Pimlott. “What you see behind me is the potential this year and across the state of California. We are standing here today in a 4th year of unprecedented drought in California that has had far reaching impacts on the state,” he added. “With the perspective of wildland fire, it means critically dry vegetation that is ripe to burn at explosive rates,” said Pimlott.
Wildfires area a natural, periodic occurrence in California and many native species depend on cyclical fires for survival. Unfortunately, this natural process often conflicts with human land use, and careless or malicious human activity causing many fires that would not have occurred naturally.
Yesterday’s press conference held near the site of last year’s King Fire, started on September 13, 2014 and lasted until October 31, 2014. This fire burned through 97,000 acres before it was contained. The resulting damage from the fire consisted of destruction of 12 single residences and 68 other minor structures, resulting in 12 injuries.
“While these impacts were felt intensely by individuals, the local area and the state, the first response efforts demonstrated our capacity to work together during times of crisis,” said Cal OES Director Mark Ghilarducci. “We witnessed over a dozen agencies, both public and private, participate in a coordinated response and contain the wildfire,” he added. “I urge all Californians to consider their specific wildfire risks to their communities, places of work and play and make an emergency plan today to make yourself and your families more resilient for this fire season, drought or other man-made and natural threats that we face within California,” said Ghilarducci.
Officials thanked everyone who has been challenged over the course of what is now the 4th year of this devastating drought. For those who continue to be proactive and work hard under extreme drought conditions. To the partners in the private sector for their continuous and unwavering support and last but certainly not least the first responders who have stepped up to meet the challenge, as we face what is expected to be another prolonged and intense fire season.