Keep Cool-Pilot Hill Fire Safe!
The Cool-Pilot Hill Fire Safe Council “Set” event was another great success. Given the focus of evacuation readiness, the event featured representatives from CalFIRE (Amador-El Dorado County Fire Safe District), the Georgetown Fire Protection District, El Dorado County Animal Services, the California Highway Patrol and Supervisor Michael Ranalli.
Notably, all of the presenters emphasized the importance of awareness and preparedness for residents in our community. CalFIRE representatives noted that CalFIRE is responsible for over 21 million acres of California wilderness; they take their responsibility very seriously – and so should residents in communities that are adjacent to these wilderness areas, such as Cool and Pilot Hill. For example, the top three “fire starters” are all human-initiated: (1) burn piles that go “out of control,” (2) driving vehicles on dry grass (e.g., autos, tractors, mowers, ATV, etc), and (3) mowing dry grass with metal blade mowers.
Officer Hoey from the California Highway Patrol shared some interesting stories about CHP’s role during wildfire evacuation. He noted that CHP is notified by CalFIRE regarding fire progress, road closures, limited access, etc. so that CHP is well advised about evacuation routes. Though many people might panic in an evacuation situation, Officer Hoey asked that community residents have confidence in and pay attention to CHP and other public service authorities (e.g., El Dorado County Sheriff’s representatives and CalFIRE) as they provide guidance and instructions for safe evacuation.
Representatives from El Dorado County Animal Services shared experience, expertise, and anecdotes about safe, temporary shelters set up for pets and livestock during wildfire incidents and evacuations. They also shared some heartening rescue stories. They recommended that residents not only be prepared with their own evacuation kits, but that pet and livestock owners prepare “pet kits” that include food, water, and (when needed) waste kits. For more information, check out El Dorado County’s “Ready Pet Go” Website that includes an Evacuation Checklist for preparing your cats, dogs, horses, livestock, birds and exotic animals for wildfire evacuation. These folks really care about your animals!
Finally, Supervisor Michael Ranalli shared information and insight about grant funds available to El Dorado County communities for the purposes of fuel reduction and road clearance. He emphasized that anything we, as a community, can do to assist CalFIRE in doing their job is a win/win! Supervisor Ranalli also discussed the increasing devastation caused by the Bark Beetle infestation in California (see Information and Resources: Cool-Pilot Hill Fire Safe for additional information). To date, an estimated 66 million trees have been destroyed by the Bark Beetle infestation. This, in addition to the drought and increased “stress” on vegetation from lack of water, place California in a unique – but potentially devastating – wildfire “season” over the next few months. Even more reason to not only be prudent about what we, as community residents, can do to PREVENT wildfires, but also to be PREPARED and READY, SET, to GO!
“Set” Event Highlights!