By: Orange County Supervisor Pat Bates
With the memories of the 2007 Santiago Fire and the 2008 Freeway Complex Fire lingering as painful reminders of the devastation wildfires can inflict on our wilderness areas and nearby residential communities, in 2009 I initiated OC Fire Watch in partnership with the Orange County Fire Authority (OCFA) and OC Parks.
OC Fire Watch increases public awareness of fire dangers by raising red “Fire Alert” flags at OC Parks and other County facilities, as well as at OCFA fire stations and participating city halls throughout Orange County. The program also incorporates OC Fire Watch volunteers to help monitor the County’s wilderness parks, which are especially vulnerable to fire during Red Flag conditions.
Needless to say, the past two years of drought have increased the wild land fire danger to extreme conditions. As such, Irvine Ranch Conservancy has been working with OC Parks to ensure the County’s open space fire prevention needs continue to be met.
Today, I am pleased to announce that OC Parks and Irvine Ranch Conservancy are combining their Fire Watch Programs into one comprehensive unit, creating a significant part of a new Orange County Fire Watch network. This will result in a more coordinated fire prevention effort countywide. To that end, they have created a Fire Watch workshop to include new training and updated deployment procedures.
I urge you to attend an upcoming workshop. We hope this new opportunity will inspire your commitment to protecting the County’s open spaces, as you must attend one of the workshops to participate in the new Orange County Fire Watch network.
Three training sessions have been scheduled for your convenience. The workshops are scheduled for:
- Irvine – Saturday, June 7 from 8:00 AM to 12:00 Noon
- Orange – Tuesday, June 17 from 5:00 PM to 9:00 PM
- Newport Beach – Saturday, June 21 from 8:00 AM to 12:00 Noon
Please register no later than Thursday, May 15. For instructions on how to register for one of the workshops, please click here. If you have any questions prior to the workshop, please contact Fire Watch Coordinator Kevin McArthur at firstname.lastname@example.org or (949) 525-0440. For more information, please click here and here.