Irvine Ranch Conservancy has deployed Fire Watch volunteers to strategic locations throughout the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks, and cancelled scheduled activities through Saturday. Suspending programs is a precaution, so visitors are not in danger if a wildfire should start. For instance, the 2007 Santiago Fire started near the Augustine Staging Area in Limestone Canyon. Canceling public programs before the severe high winds during that time meant that no visitors were in the area when the fire started.
The Fire Watch program is supported by Orange County Fire Authority. You can also support the Fire Watch volunteers by being extra aware of fire potential during high wind events. There are three primary ways you can prevent disaster:
Be Vigilant: Especially during strong Santa Ana winds and Red Flag Warnings, look out for suspicious activity. You can also join a community fire watch network, which support Orange County Fire Authority and protect communities by reporting dangerous or hazardous activities.
Be Careful: Most fires are started along roadways. Keep your car in tune to help avoid catalytic converter explosions, and never pull your car over on top of dry grass. Make sure tow chains are off the ground to avoid sparks and never throw a cigarette out of a car window.
Be Ready: Flying embers can travel up to a mile ahead of a fire, and are the leading cause of damage to homes and structures in a wildfire. The most important thing you can do to protect your property is to “fire harden” your home. To find out how, contact OCFA for a free fire risk analysis.
To find out more about “fire hardening” your home and preventing wildfires, visit www.ReadySetGoOC.org. To find out more about becoming a Fire Watch volunteer, visit www.LetsGoOutside.org/volunteer.