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CAL FIRE stresses the importance of fire preparedness

Posted at 11:26 AM, May 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-12 14:26:42-04

(KGTV) — During National Wildfire Awareness month, Cal Fire says it's imperative to prepare for a fire like Laguna Nigel.

Most importantly, Captain Neil Czapinski with Cal Fire says to have conversations about what your plan will be if you have to evacuate.

The captain recommends making sure medicine bags are packed, important documents are stored and easily accessible, and that you have go-bags filled with water and clothes at the ready, in case you get that call. Cal Fire says they are ready year-round and have stepped in to help our northern neighbors.

Cpt. Czapinski says they have sent two to three strike teams, consisting of a total of 10 engines and firefighters to Orange County and they will do their best to help contain this hundred-acre wildfire.

“We always try and do our best we can to save life and property is of the utmost importance," said Czapinski.

"San Diego has the ability to send resources up there so we said absolutely.”

San Diego is no stranger to stronger wildfires. The Lilac Fire in December of 2017 burned more than 4 thousand acres and destroyed more than 150 homes. More recently, the Valley Fire in September of 2020 caused hundreds of evacuations.

“When a wall of fire is approaching you and your family or your residents, it can be intimidating," said Czapinski.

"People can freak out and not know what to do.”

That's why preparedness is key.

Cal Fire says the first step is surveying your belongings.

“We always try and put the message out of keep up to date with your clearance. The clearance window is closing a little bit as things very out, you want to try and keep your clearance times in the early mornings or on days where it’s cooler or overcast."

Other tips include checking your trailers and cars to make sure they do not have loose chains or parts that may cause a roadside fire.

Captain Czapinski also warns against doing any outdoor projects with fire, near brush.

“The potential for those kind of fires is always there.”

As thousands in Orange County are evacuating, Captain Czapinski says being ready at all times is important.

“Make sure you have that route you are going to take there if there is a fire."

"Some of our communities are a little more rural with one way in and one way out. So make sure you are ready to go in case that phone call comes," he furthers. "Things can be replaced people cannot.”

Cal Fire has resources at the ready to help you keep a checklist of all you need to know before a potential wildfire starts. You can learn more here.