City Manager's Updates

Monthly updates from El Cerrito City Manager Karen Pinkos.

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May 16

Fire Season 2014

Posted on May 16, 2014 at 12:26 PM by Suzanne Iarla

Fire Dept Update- Part of the City Manager’s Update of May 16, 2014

It’s been a long, dry winter for California, with record low snowpack and ideal wildfire conditions to show for it. At the beginning of the month, during the time when snowpack usually peaks, the state snow survey was 32 percent of average, one of the lowest years on record in an area of the Sierra Nevada Mountains where snowpack provides crucial water supply over the summer.

With the latest U.S. Seasonal Drought Outlook released Thursday showing the drought persisting or intensifying throughout the state until August, precipitation figures will continue to trend negatively. One area where figures will grow is wildfires. The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection is already warning that it will be a long and challenging fire season. Cal Fire reports that it has responded to approximately 900 wildfires between January 1 and April 5, 2014, almost triple the average for that period.

The State declared the opening of fire season on May 5. Chief Maples would like the Council and public to be aware of the following Vegetation Management tips this fire season:
  • Trim trees up from the ground and remove dead and dying branches, loose and papery bark, and fallen branches.
  • Cut trees 10 feet back from chimney openings.
  • Install a spark arrestor on all chimneys and stovepipes.
  • Keep roofs and decks free of leaves, needles, twigs or other dead vegetation.
  • Fire resistive plants and shrubs are recommended.
  • All abatement of hazards must be maintained throughout fire season. 

 These very simple tips will make you, your family and our community much safer as we head into a fire season that may be one for the record books. Stay safe!