With fire season fast approaching, the Pasadena Fire Department has notified about 4,000 homeowners in high fire risk areas that annual property inspections to ensure proper brush clearance have begun.
Affected residents received notices last month that inspections were about to start, according to Pasadena Fire Chief Chad Augustin. Inspections began last week.
If proper property clearance is found, residents will receive no further notice from the fire department, according to the notice. Those with issues on their properties will be contacted.
“Even though there’s some teeth to it with fines, we never want to do that,” Augustin said. “We want to partner with the community to make sure that their residence is as safe as it can be in a higher threat area. And so really, it’s all about prevention, making sure they have defensible space, making sure that we have good access to get in and around their residence if there is a fire.”
“It also gives us an opportunity to talk about evacuation plans and for residents to have a plan, have a go bag. So that when that unimaginable threat does happen, they’re prepared,” the chief added.
Brush clearance is vital both to keep fires from spreading to homes, as well as to make sure firefighters have access in an emergency, officials said.
“In general, we want a hundred feet of defensible space,” according to Augustin. “It means that we want you to remove all your dead trees… anything that’s dead or dying.”
“And then also within 10 feet of a roadway,” he added. “These roads are narrow, and if you have one tree come down in the roadway and block access and egress, we’re all in a world of hurt.”
Last year was Califorina’s worst fire season on record, Augustin said.
“From January 1st to the end of March of last year, there were around 600 wildland fires to-date in that three month period up and down the state,” he said. “We’ve already topped that this year.”
Nonetheless, “There’s still plenty of fuel to burn,” Augustin said. “I expect it to be a very dry year.”
Firefighters are preparing not only to fight local fires, but to respond to help other fire agencies across the state in case of a massive blaze.
Last year, Pasadena firefighters assisted their counterparts with 18 wildfires in other parts of the state, Augustin said.
On Tuesday, the Pasadena Fire Dept. sent Water Tender 34 to assist in the fight against an aggressive brush fire that scorched wildland in the remote Angeles National Forest south of Llano, near the Valyermo area, a city spokesperson said.
More information on Pasadena’s brush clearance program is available online at ww5.cityofpasadena.net/wp-