From the Fire Department
Last updated May 16, 2013
Record Number Participates in Pancake Breakfast
It was a busy week for the Monrovia Fire Department. On top of responding to their normal calls for service, the department came together along with an estimated 2,000 people - one of the highest counts in the history of these breakfasts - for the annual Pancake Breakfast on May 11.
Rock and rollers, face painting and hearty breakfasts were all part of the fun. Plus, the department displayed maps, thank you’s and photos that came from the Madison Fire.
Photo from Monrovia Chamber of Commerce
Calls for Service
The Monrovia Fire Department responded to 84 calls for service between May 9 and May 16, including a house fire on May 14. The call came in at 2:19 p.m., reoprting a structure fire on Ninth Avenue in Monrovia. A quick response time helped firefighters contain the fire to the roof of the home. No one was injured during the fire.
Safer Practices When Landscaping and Gardening in Wildfire-Prone Areas
Equipment use is a major cause of fires in California. According to data from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CalFire), equipment use was responsible for over ¼ of the fires between 2000 and 2005.
Here's the dilemma: equipment use is central to creating and maintaining defensible space. Weed eaters, lawn mowers, trimmers and chain saws are the tools of the trade for clearing and thinning brush.
The Monrovia Fire Department has long advised homeowners to complete their brush clearance/thinning in spring. The reason for this is to achieve a balance: if you get to work too late in the year the live and dead vegetation have both dried out, increasing the risk of starting a fire; if you start too early on the annual weeds, they will grow again and need repeated treatments. However, as we have learned from the Madison Fire, wildfires can begin at any time of year.
So, defensible space is as critical as ever, but care must be taken in creating it. It is possible to use power tools safely, but it requires extra diligence.
How can a homeowner do the necessary work without sparking fires? Here are some basic guidelines for safe power tool use:
• Work while plants still retain some of their early-morning moisture - generally before 10 a.m.
• Do not work in windy conditions.
• Don't park in dry grass or brush.
• Use lawn mowers for turf only.
• For dry weeds and grass, use weed trimmers or hand tools.
• With string trimmers, use plastic or nylon line only, not any type of metallic material that will be prone to sparks.
• Check in advance for rocks that might spark when hit or thrown by power equipment.
• Use spark arresters on all portable gasoline powered equipment.
• Fuel up away from dry weeds, and, of course, don't smoke!
• Have a helper at a safe distance acting as a spotter to watch for sparks, smoke or flame.
• Carry water or an appropriate fire extinguisher and make sure you know how - and when - to use it.
• Do not attempt to extinguish a large fire yourself.
• Carry a cell phone to call 911 immediately if there is a fire of any size.
• Consider replacing annual, weedy growth with low-flammability perennial plants that can be effectively pruned and groomed during winter dormancy.
CalFire has a video on safe equipment use in dry brush and fact sheets in both English and Spanish on the subject: http://readyforwildfire.org/equipment_use
Our wonderful firefighters succeeded in saving all the homes threatened by the Madison Fire - as skilled and dedicated as they are, they could not have accomplished this if not for the defensible space that the residents had provided around their homes. Make sure to maintain that defensible space to help the firefighters save your home in the event of a wildfire --- but do it safely. Follow the guidelines above!
BRUSH SEASON STARTS NOW: Is your home ready?
Wildfires are not preventable, but losses due to wildfire are - and the responsibility lies in the hands of residents.
The Annual Brush Inspection Program began May 1, 2013 with initial inspections in the very high fire hazard zone to continue through June 2013.
"WHAT HAPPENS IF I DON'T COMPLY?": If compliance on your property is not obtained at the conclusion of the second on-site brush inspection, your property may be subject to an administrative fine for those hazardous conditions found after July 1, 2013.
Severe violations that pose an imminent threat to health and safety may be forwarded to the City Prosecutor for processing.
CHECK: To see if you are in the brush zone, click here: firezonemap.pdf
GET UPDATED: A complete version of the letter can be found here: 2013_brush_letter.pdf
COMPLY: Learn more here: attachment_1.pdf