The Los Angeles Times reported this month that high winds in Santa Ana will create hazardous fire conditions in the area this month. After an already devastating fire season in California, the increased risk from dry winter air and high winds could cause more problems among wildfires in the area. Here is how you can be prepared for wildfires and hazardous fire conditions caused by Santa Ana winds:
Limit things and activities that can cause wildfires
While this is less of a risk in the winter months as people are often not out camping and participating in outdoor activities, you should still act as if you’re in a high risk area in the height of the late summer and fall fire seasons. Limit activities like outdoor fires or activities such as welding in high wind situations. Anything with a spark can cause a wildfire in high wind situations, so even something as simple as smoking a cigarette outside could put your neighborhood at risk.
You should also make sure that any open flames or embers are put out before you leave them. For example, if you smoke a cigarette in your car, we suggest that you put the cigarette out completely inside of your car instead of throwing it out the window. This will also limit waste and litter in the area and keep the nature around you clean.
Listen to local officials
The best way to avoid accidentally causing a wildfire is to listen to your local firefighters and fire officials. Local news channels will often provide information on what local professionals recommend that you do in order to avoid causing a wildfire. In Santa Ana, for example, local fire officials were able to work with local weather experts to determine just how long the highest risk winds would be around.
High risk periods should also be accompanied by extra preparedness. Think about potential exit plans in case of a fire, and set up anything you might need to be able to evacuate your home quickly and safely in the event of a fire. Make a plan for your pets as well, and find a way to bring them with you if you have to leave in a hurry.
Right now, the critically dry air caused by the winter months and the drought that the Western United States has been experiencing this year have created particularly high risk fire seasons have started earlier and lasted longer than they have in recent years. We recommend staying vigilant and staying prepared—both to prevent a wildfire and to act if one were to break out in your neighborhood or local area.