A trio of public agencies have joined forcesto announce the official start of the 2005 fire season in the South Valley.
The Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service and Kern County FireDepartment announced Wednesday an “Interagency Declaration for the 2005Wildland Fire Season.”
U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman MargieClack said the declaration includes all forest lands managed by the SequoiaNational Forest located in Tulare, Fresno and Kern counties, including the GiantSequoia National Monument.
Clark said the declaration also includes all public lands managed by the BLMBakersfield field office throughout Tulare, Fresno/Kings, Kern, San Luis Obispo,Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.
Visitors must have a California campfire permit in their possession for the useof wood fires, charcoal barbecues and portable gas stoves using gas, jelliedpetroleum, or pressurized liquid fuel. These permits are free and can beobtained from any Forest Service or BLM office.
Kern County has seen record temperatures this month and fire agencies havealready experienced several small grass fires in the past few weeks.
The same scenario is playing out in South Tulare County.
Fire season normally begins when all seasonal firefighting equipment andpersonnel are in place and ready to fight fire. Due to the early onset ofseveral grass fires, fire officials all agree that wildland fire activity willcontinue to increase locally.
With the potential for a hot and dry summer ahead – particularly in lowelevation areas – fire officials are urging the public to be fire safe whenvisiting the region’s forests and public lands.
Clark said homeowners living in the wildland urban interface should completetheir defensible space by clearing hazardous dry vegetation away from theirhomes.