At a wildfire prevention news conference Friday at the Eaton Canyon Nature Center in Pasadena, Assemblymember Chris Holden (D-Pasadena) was joined by Supervisor Antonovich, LA County Fire Deputy Chief John Todd, Cal Fire Captain Mike Mohler and JPL/NASA Climatologist Bill Patzert to discuss ways in which we can all prepare for a potentially “incendiary” fire season as JPL’s Patzert cautioned.
“It hardly seems possible, but 21 years ago, Eaton Canyon was ablaze as flames shot down the Canyon and destroyed the nature center and more than 100 homes. Since then we’ve taken steps to better prepare for wildfires, but as we all keep hearing: 2014 could turn out to be the worst fire season – ever, “ Holden said.
“Already fire crews have responded to nearly 2300 wildfires across California that burned more than 17,000 acres. Several of those fires were here in the Southern California foothills including Glendora and Rancho Cucamonga. Damage to homes in those wildfires was minimized thanks in large part to heroic efforts by our county and state firefighters.
This extreme drought has made fire season a year-round event. Therefore, in the budget bill that we passed earlier this week, I am pleased to announce that the Legislature and the Governor approved $90 million for additional firefighting capabilities.
In addition, the budget provides another $13 million to the California Conservation Corps to expand fuel and vegetation management programs. And in good news for local firefighting agencies such as LA County Fire, there will another $10 million available in grants.
I want to enlist our communities to be the “Eyes and Ears” in preventing wild land fires. Working together we can help to prevent fires and minimize the damage of future blazes.” Holden concluded.
CalFire Captain Mike Mohler pointed out that Governor Brown has provided additional monies in the budget to hire more firefighters to battle what experts are saying could be the worst fire season on record in California. Mohler pointed out that crews are moving up and down the state depending on weather conditions at all times, even if there are no fires. Precaution and preparation are the key elements in preventing and managing wildfires.
Air operations were also discussed but Supervisor Antonovich warned that the two large capity Super Scoopers won’t be available until August from Quebec.