By Kathy Chouteau
As dry weather signals the arrival of the wildfire season countywide, the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District (Con Fire) is announcing its expansion of seasonal wildfire responses throughout the district and is urging community members to take action “to protect [their] family, homes and neighbors,” per a statement.
In its announcement, the fire district said it has returned “to full fire responses for all grass, vegetation, and wildland fires across the district because of the early arrival of seasonal fire weather.” The full responses include at least five firefighting apparatus and crews, whereas these responses had been reduced since December 2021 to a single engine due to the reduced threat during winter.
Coupled with its increased response, Con Fire is also shifting staffing levels—a move that will encompass two of its Crew 12, 16-person hand crew teams and which will facilitate everyday availability.
Con Fire is also advising residents to ensure their properties meet or exceed all weed abatement and defensible space requirements. Officials underscored that “These are the single most important things owners can do to ensure firefighters have the time and ability to better defend their properties from wildfires that may occur.”
The implementation of the Zonehaven digital evacuation planning and management tool by all County fire and law enforcement agencies is a major advance in wildfire readiness this year, according to Con Fire officials. The new tool creates evacuation zones for every county area, thus streamlining “planning, conduct and communication of evacuations for all disasters,” said fire district officials. Residents can click here to find out their zone for reference in an emergency.
Fire Chief Lewis Broschard of Con Fire said that “Forecasts are for above normal significant wildland fire potential from May through August for the Bay Area,” and encouraged residents to practice weed abatement, defensible space creation and learning their new evacuation zone.
“Investment in fire safe preparation today can buy the time tomorrow for firefighters to arrive and protect structures from wildfire loss,” said Assistant Chief and Fire Marshal Chris Bachman of Con Fire.
For more information visit Con Fire’s website.