The annual training sends Fire Watch volunteers to multiple locations across Orange County, where simulations are set-up on the land. This year’s training took place at four different locations throughout OC Parks and the Irvine Ranch Open Space. With the use of binoculars and the naked eye, Fire Watch volunteers were tasked to scan each location and call out signs of wildfire danger by reporting their observations to an authority on scene, over the radio and calling the Fire Watch hotline.
“Knowing details of what should be reported is an important part of Fire Watch,” said Fire Watch Manager Tony Pointer. “During the training, volunteers pay close attention to their surroundings and experience the feeling of being on-site and calling in a potential wildfire threat.”
With the annual training in its third year, about 50 volunteers, along with OC Sheriff's Reserves, were sent to observe Yorba Regional Park, Peters Canyon, and Irvine Ranch Open Space Black Star Canyon. In total, there are 36 Fire Watch locations where volunteers deploy during Red Flag events. Each location is specifically chosen based on historical ignitions and high-risk areas near local communities.
The first Fire Watch deployment of the year usually takes place on the 4th of July, which in years past has been considered a high-risk day for potential wildfire occurrences. The 4th of July deployment is often the largest of the fire season due to illegal firework use near open spaces.
To learn more about Orange County Fire Watch and to become a volunteer, visit letsgooutside.org/activities/fire-watch.