03 May 2013

Carbon Canyon and the All-Year Fire Season

The onset of Santa Ana winds and hot, dry weather at this time of year might be termed "abnormal," but the idea of "normal" in the context of climate change doesn't seem to have much relevancy anymore.

Wildfires erupting throughout southern California (while, meantime, there has been heavy snowfall in the Midwest, which is not "normal" for the season), especially the massive blaze in the Camarillo area, are a reminder that a paltry 5 inches of rain this winter, the fourth-lowest regionally since official records were started in 1877, portend another difficult year.

There are some showers forecast for as early as Sunday and through Tuesday, but it looks like these are "chances" of precipitation and likely the last chance for many months.

As for Carbon Canyon, 15 May is the usual deadline for the removal of brush and the extremely dry winter is all the more reason to be mindful of meeting that requirement and continuing to be vigilant about fire threats.  There used to be references to the fire seasons of spring and fall, but the reality now is that fire season is all-year.

This includes motorcycle and ATV riders taking to the hills, as was noticed out the window behind this computer a few days ago, as ATV users climbed the north side of Sleepy Hollow for some fun at the top of the hills there.  Of course, it only takes a spark from one of these to hit some dry brush and then an inferno could develop from there.

A Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grant project to clear brush in perimeter areas within Carbon Canyon has been conducted these past months to help mitigate the hazards, but there are still plenty of areas within and near the Canyon that are subject to wildfires.

So, let's hope that a repeat of 2008 is kept away for another year, but that means that everyone from fire agencies to commuters to local residents have to be extra aware and careful of the risks that develop when extreme conditions arise, and which might, actually, be the "new normal."

1 comment:

H. Stearns said...

Driving to work on Thursday morning following this guy in his jeep with no roof who was smoking a cigarette all through the Canyon so when we got to the red light at Valencia I put my car in park, went up to him and asked him to please not smoke in the Canyon and I would appreciate it if he didn't throw his cigarette butt out of his car since all of Southern California was on a Red Flag alert. Most especially since this Canyon is a high fire hazard area and it is where my home is. He just stared at me and then said "no, I won't throw it out" I said, "thanks, I appreciate that" Im sure I scared the shit out of him when I walked up to him at the traffic signal. If I had a water bottle I would have given it to him to put his cigarette butt in, which is what fellow resident Susan Colias did one time when she was stopped in construction traffic and behind a smoker. We must all speak up and report any individuals who throw cigarettes out of their cars. As you said it is fire season all year.