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CalFire Increases Staff in San Mateo County

Drier fuel conditions this year pose a threat to the area.

More acreage has burned in San Mateo and Santa Cruz counties in the first two weeks of fire season than the last two years combined, according to a recent California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CalFire) report.

This is due in part to drier fuel conditions not seen since the summer of 2009, said San Mateo/Santa Cruz Unit Chief John Ferreira.

The Cal Fire San Mateo/Santa Cruz Unit recently controlled several wildland fires in San Mateo and Santa Cruz counties.

In response to the increased fire activity and fuel conditions, the CalFire San Mateo/Santa Cruz Unit will increase its staffing level to 12 wildland fire engines starting June 29.

To meet the staffing needs for fire season, CalFire augments its permanent workforce with seasonal firefighters. Most seasonal firefighters are returning CalFire employees with previous firefighting experience. Seasonal firefighters receive training in wildland and structural fire fighting as well as required certification in hazardous materials and emergency medical response.

Much of this training will occur at the annual firefighter returnee academy that will be held the week of June 25 at the Camp Ben Lomond Training Center.

Ferreira wants to remind residents they can prepare for the fire season by making their properties fire safe by creating a 100 feet defensible space zone around their homes. Inspections to ensure compliance are taking place through the counties.

For information about how residents can make their homes fire safe, go to CalFire’s website at www.fire.ca.gov.


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