Wildfire Season is Here- Be Ready!

Wildfires don’t stop for a pandemic, and Santa Barbara County is now in High Fire Season. The Santa Barbara County Fire Department (SBCFD) would like to take this opportunity to remind everyone who lives, works, and plays in Santa Barbara County to be extra vigilant about fire safety this fire season.

Defensible space inspections are also being conducted by the SBCFD. Maintaining defensible space is critical in stopping a wildfire from destroying your home. Defensible space is part of every homeowner’s responsibility. A minimum of 100 feet of defensible space is required around your home in Santa Barbara County. Engine companies will perform inspections and provide homeowners with educational material on how to comply. With the year-round threat of wildfire, the defensible space requirement is enforced at all times in Santa Barbara County. Non- compliant homeowners are subject to be cited.

The SBCFD reminds people that defensible space is the area around a structure, free of flammable plants and objects, that creates a zone in which firefighters can operate safely in order to help protect a home during a wildfire. This space is wide enough to prevent direct flame impingement and reduce the amount of radiant heat reaching the structure. The defensible space for each structure varies and depends on the type of vegetation and topography. Maintaining this defensible space is critical.

The Ready! Set! Go! Program was launched in May 2009 as a new approach to educating Southern California residents about the now year-round threat of wildfire. This public education program seeks to gain active public involvement in reducing life and property loss caused by wildfires.

This program is presented in three steps:

Ready! Prepare yourself, your family and your property.

Set! Monitor fire weather/activity and prepare to evacuate.

Go! Leave early when directed to by public safety officials.

Learn more at www.sbcfire.com.

Public Safety Power Shutoff Preparation

The community should also be ready for a potential Public Safety Power Shutoff.  Even during the COVID-19 crisis, Southern California Edison (SCE) crews continue to perform ground and aerial inspections and install hi-tech tools to help make communities more resilient and to protect communities from the threat of wildfires. Learn more about SCE’s wildfire mitigation activities and its response to COVID-19

As in past years, when there is a high risk for a wildfire, SCE may declare a Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) and temporarily shut off power to your neighborhood to prevent our electric system from becoming the source of an ignition. SCE says it will make every effort to reduce the number and length of PSPS and will continue to use these outages as required to protect public safety.

To learn how to be prepared for PSPS outages, you can join a SCE virtual community meeting where you will hear more about PSPS, wildfire safety efforts, customer care programs and resources.  You can also attend a PowerTalk meeting to learn more about the different types of outages, including PSPS. To see upcoming meetings and to register, visit sce.com/wildfiresafetymeetings.

You can also sign up for PSPS Alerts at sce.com/pspsalerts. If you depend on electrically-powered medical equipment, you may be eligible for SCE’s Medical Baseline program. Learn about the program and how to apply at sce.com/medicalbaseline.

Photo courtesy of photographer Mike Eliason with the Santa Barbara County Fire Department.