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Guest column: The importance of fire prevention

July 11, 2013|By Andy Beattie

La Cañada Flintridge is a beautiful, breezy and tree-shaded community backing up to the wide-open native landscape of the Angeles National Forest. This is a delightful place to live, and a terrifying place to defend should wildfires develop. While the Station fire thinned out some of the oldest brush abutting our city, that was four years ago this August. Nature has worked hard to come back in the foothills, and that early carpet of green is now a sea of brown fuel for potential fires.

The lesson of the Station fire is not to be complacent about fire prevention, disaster planning, or brush clearing at your homes or businesses. The destructive threat of fire is very real in our community, and with high temperatures forecast and winds certain to blow this summer, being prepared is never more necessary than now.

Los Angeles County Fire Chief Daryl Osby discussed the concern for this year’s fire season saying the department is preparing for a more dynamic fire season than they have seen in 100 years. The recent Powerhouse fire in Palmdale/Lancaster, which burned more than 29,000 acres and destroyed 50 homes and buildings, was evidence of extreme fire behavior, according to the Los Angeles County Fire Department.

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Also, the Yarnell fire in Arizona, which killed Granite Mountain Hotshot Kevin Woyjeck — the son of L.A. County Fire Department Fire Captain Joe Woyjeck — as well as 18 others, is yet another example of the deadly consequences of fire and that Chief Osby’s insights are on target.

We have often been told by the county fire department that our city is vulnerable to a dangerous wild fire because of or proximity to the foothills and our lush urban canopy. More than ever before, this year the extreme temperatures and dry fuel should keep us all on guard and we should do everything we can to ensure we are complying with brush clearance orders.

Our county fire Companies 19 and 82 have worked hard this spring to inspect potential fire hazard properties in La Cañada Flintridge, and are finding strong commitment to brush control in the majority of the city. Inspections are nearly complete, and here are the results:

Fire Station 19 (1729 Foothill Blvd.)

Responsible to inspect a total of 481 parcels. As of June 13, 439 parcels had been inspected. Of those inspected, 22 have been issued citations.

Fire Station 82 (352 Foothill Blvd.)

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