The City of Orange enjoys a natural “wildland” environment on the eastern end of the city. This environment affords wonderful views, a feeling of getting away to the country, and plenty of opportunities for recreation. However, the City of Orange, as well as California as a whole, has experienced very real and sobering property losses due to wildland fires. Most of us remember the firestorms of 1993. Orange lost eight homes in the Stagecoach Fire, while Laguna Beach was hit even harder with the destruction of 366 homes. These losses caused the fire service to look long and hard at the safety of structures in the urban-wildland interface.
Fire behavior is dictated by three factors: 1) the lay of the land, 2) weather, and 3) fuel. Southern California experiences some of the fiercest wildland fires in the nation largely due to the chaparral native to the region, and also due to the infamous Santa Ana winds. Click on this link to learn what you can do to prepare for wildland fire season: http://www.readyforwildfire.org/.
Fire Hazard Severity Zone Map
Taking all of these factors into account, The State of California has made a final recommendation to the city of orange with reference to modifying the very high fire hazard severity zone in the city. Buildings within this zone must be constructed especially to withstand wildland fires. Additionally, vegetation within certain distances to the homes must be thinned and irrigated to slow a fire should one approach the building. Please click here to see the map.
Cal Fire (Then known as the California Department of Forestry), the U.S. Forest Service and the U.S. Department of the Interior teamed up to produce a pamphlet in 2000 entitled, “Property Inspection Guide.” Click the icon below to see the Property Inspection Guide:
This guide contains information regarding key points for property inspections including the following: the “defensible space” concept of protecting property, fire department access needs, vegetation management techniques, “firewise” construction, fire ignition sources, proper protection in case of fire, and what to do in case of an approaching wildfire. Keep in mind that construction requirements in the wildland-urban interface (WUI) are constantly improving (reference the latest WUI building standards located on the website of the California State Fire Marshal), as are the thoughts on evacuation planning (reference the “Ready Set Go” program).
Click on the icon below to learn more about the “Ready Set Go” program:
The U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), in partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Forest Service and the International Association of Fire Chiefs, announces the release of, “Your Role in Fire-Adapted Communities.” Click the link below to see the pamphlet:
http://www.usfa.fema.gov/downloads/pdf/publications/fire_adapted_communities.pdf This new guide promotes a holistic approach to wildland fire risk reduction in the wildlan urban interface and addresses actions to improve individual and community safety. The mission statement of the fire department is “to prevent or minimize the loss of life and property from the adverse effects of fire, medical emergencies, and dangerous conditions created by man or nature.” One way this mission statement is fulfilled is by ensuring the safety and well being of families living in the urban-wildland interface. Nature can be fierce and unforgiving. Fuel modification is the most effective step our community can take to prevent loss of life and property in the future.
The mission statement of the fire department is “to prevent or minimize the loss of life and property from the adverse effects of fire, medical emergencies, and dangerous conditions created by man or nature.” One way this mission statement is fulfilled is by ensuring the safety and well being of families living in the urban-wildland interface. Nature can be fierce and unforgiving. Fuel modification is the most effective step our community can take to prevent loss of life and property in the future.
Please contact Fire Safety Specialist Janna Doty via email, or contact her through the Fire Prevention Bureau at (714) 288-2541 with any questions or comments you might have.