WeatherFire Watch


How some local fire departments are preparing for the upcoming season

Posted at 5:21 PM, Apr 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-29 22:42:24-04

High fire season is near and some Central Coast fire departments have already started to prepare.

Many of the local fire departments across both Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties are gearing up.

Battalion Chief Mike Farmer says his crew of firefighters in Santa Maria is currently training for this coming fire season.

"They brush off the dust off their wildland gear bags, make sure they have enough clothes packed for a 14-day deployment, make sure that their safety gear is in order,” Farmer said.

The Five Cities Fire Authority is also preparing its staff and has started sending out weed abatement letters.

This means property owners must keep their grasses and weeds under four inches to maintain a defensible space around their homes.

"We are getting vegetation fire starts every day. We had one at Vandenberg Air Force Base today, we had one in Paso Robles today, so the fuel is still somewhat green but if you pay attention, you will see it's changing colors,” said Five Cities Fire Chief Steve Lieberman.

In Atascadero, the fire department will start doing social media outreach starting this Saturday to spread the word about fire safety and defensible space for homes. They're also increasing their staff numbers.

"We hired six seasonal firefighters to increase our staff through the fire season, so those members come on in June and are on with us for six months,” said Community Risk Reduction Battalion Chief Dave Van Son.

All three departments stated they are ready to go if and when needed.

"Take a look at your yard, take a look at your junk piles, it's a good time to do your spring cleaning, and let's do everything we can to be prepared,” Lieberman said.

Fire officials in Santa Maria say although their staffing numbers do stay the same, those that are off are always on call in case they are needed, especially this time of year.

The Santa Barbara County Fire Department plans to declare the beginning of the 2021 high fire season on Monday, May 3.