Wildfire Awareness Week: Statement from the President

DSC00465Wildfire Awareness Week is dedicated to building awareness of the importance of wildfire prevention and preparedness. The full week of May 3 through 9, CAL FIRE and their partners will come together to help remind residents of the dangers of wildfires and the key steps that should be followed to prepare for and prevent them. California’s continued drought has brought record low rain and highlights the growing importance of being prepared for wildfires. Below is a statement from Calforests President David Bischel, who attended the kick-off event with the USFS representatives, Sierra Nevada Conservancy Executive Officer Jim Branham, the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services Director Mark Ghilarducci, California Secretary for Natural Resources John Laird hosted by CAL FIRE.

“Wildfire Awareness Week provides an important opportunity to remind us all of the need to enhance the resilience of our homes and natural landscapes from the dangers and impacts of catastrophic wildfire.

 While fire is natural to all of California’s forest ecosystems, unnaturally large and hot fires are also a growing threat to them. We know that drought, climate change and overly-dense vegetation contribute to an increasing threat of severe catastrophic wildfire. When fire does occur, whole watersheds, including its trees, soil, wildlife and homes in the fire’s path can be destroyed. During this time of extreme drought, it is important to emphasize that our forested watersheds provide the majority of clean and reliable water to the public.

 Keeping our forests intact and healthy are important to ensure the public reaps the benefits that our forestlands produce – clean water, clean air, wildlife habitat and so much more. Continued destruction from fires such as the King and Rim Fire prove that monster fires devastate the landscape, and restoration of those forests will take decades if not centuries. We can no-longer afford to just chase wildfires.

 We all need to do everything we can to safeguard our homes and our state’s precious natural resources. We urge everyone to take time to learn how they can help reduce the risk of severe wildfire. We thank the fire service agencies who work year-round to reduce the risk of wildfire and increase public safety through Wildfire Awareness Week and other CAL FIRE fire prevention programs.”

Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr.  issued a proclamation on Monday declaring May 3-9, 2015 as “Wildfire Awareness Week” in the State of California.

California now faces the threat of wildfire nearly year-round due to drought conditions. The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) has already responded to a 75 percent increase in wildfires this year. For more information on steps to protect lives, homes and families in the event of a wildfire, visit www.ReadyForWildfire.org.