CAL FIRE and Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) want Californians to have a memorable and safe Memorial Day weekend. The state and the utility are partnering to encourage boaters and campers to use caution over the holiday – and all summer long – when towing recreational equipment and burning campfires. According to CAL FIRE, more than 90 percent of all wildland fires in California are sparked by people.
“Even the simplest of outdoor activities can spark a wildfire if caution is not followed.”
The warning is critically important to preventing wildfires during the state’s ongoing drought. Since the beginning of this year, CAL FIRE already has responded to more than 1,400 wildfires scorching more than 6,000 acres. That’s nearly twice as many than in an average year. Last year, CAL FIRE responded to 5,600 fires which burned 90,000 acres.
“The continued drought highlights why it’s critical that everyone take steps to prevent sparking a wildfire,” said Daniel Berlant, CAL FIRE chief of public information. “Even the simplest of outdoor activities can spark a wildfire if caution is not followed.”
“PG&E is the community’s partner in safety, and we are strongly committed to reducing the risk of wildfires during this prolonged drought. PG&E manages 57 campgrounds throughout northern and central California. We encourage everyone to enjoy their natural beauty with a focus on fire safety now and throughout the entire year,” said Barry Anderson, vice president of emergency preparedness and operations for PG&E.
Simple Safety Practices Prevent Wildfires
According to CAL FIRE statistics, motorists are responsible for many of the fires that start along California roadways. Most of those fires could be prevented by towing trailers safely and properly maintaining vehicles. Motorists should use appropriate safety pins and hitch balls to ensure chains will not drag on the ground and throw sparks. Drivers should also maintain vehicle tire pressure and brakes. Failing to do so can cause metal to contact metal and create sparks.
Campfires are also a common cause of wildfires that can be avoided by following a few simple steps. Campfire permits can be obtained online or at any CAL FIRE, U.S. Forest Service or Bureau of Land Management station. Select an open, level location for campfires and clear 10 feet around the site. Always have a responsible adult near an open campfire. When you are ready to extinguish the fire, use the “drown, stir and feel” method: drown the fire with water, stir it with a shovel to put out any embers, and feel the area with the back of your hand to make sure it is no longer smoldering.
You can learn more on how to prevent and prepare for wildfires through CAL FIRE’s public education efforts One Less Spark, One Less Wildfire and Ready, Set, Go.
About CAL FIRE
The Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) is responsible for preventing and suppressing wildfires within the 31 million acres of State Responsibility Area throughout California. At the heart of its emergency response and resource protection capability is a force of over 7,000 firefighters working together toward a mission of protecting the people, property and natural resources of California. For more on CAL FIRE visit www.fire.ca.gov.
Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation (NYSE:PCG), is one of the largest combined natural gas and electric utilities in the United States. Based in San Francisco, with more than 20,000 employees, the company delivers some of the nation’s cleanest energy to nearly 16 million people in Northern and Central California. For more information, visit www.pge.com/ and www.pge.com/en/about/newsroom/index.page.