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From the September 2013 Battle Mountain News

posted Jul 6, 2014, 4:51 PM by Joe Christy

Human Caused Fires Near LA

Earlier this month I had an opportunity to talk to the person in charge of the One Less Spark—One Less Wildfire campaign that I mentioned last month, whose regular job is in the firefighting group in Angeles National Forest, around LA. He told me that every fire that they've had there in 2013 has been caused either by people using power tools improperly, or by vehicles. Most of those were either vehicles dragging chains along a roadway or people hitting a rock with a metal weed-whacker. For simple steps to eliminate most ignition hazards, check out

Human Caused Fires Closer To Home

You've no doubt heard about the fire in the Fall Creek unit of Henry Cowell on August 19, and you may even know that there have been other fires in the park near the river. State Parks and CAL FIRE have issued a info sheet on these worrisome developments, which I quote:

“This year Henry Cowell State Park has been the site of over 12 vegetation fires. Investigators have examined all of these fires and determined that while several different causes were to blame, all were human caused. Some were intentionally set, some were the result of accidents but a majority were the result of illegal campfires left unattended. ...”

“If you see a fire that is out of control or see someone setting a fire, immediately call 911.”

“If you have information about a possible arson fire please call the 'Arson Tip Line' at (800)468-4408. If you wish to pass on information by email, please send it to the following address:”

There is also an anonymous email conduit:

Be Prepared For Peak Fire Season

September to November is our peak fire season; fuel moisture in the heavy 1000 hour fuels is hovering in the single digits, and rain is months away. Be sure your home is ready: gutters clean, decks swept, 100' of defensible space in good condition, and the landscaping next to your house low, lean, and green. If you work outside, be sure that you do it in the cool of the morning; if you use metal tools, clear rocks in the work area. If you grill, be sure you have a hose at hand.

Helping You, Helping Us

We are here to help you. At the neighborhood level, we can help you plan projects and obtain the services of a Ben Lomond Camp (BLC) for $200/day. Crews are are not permitted to work on the legally mandated 100' of defensible space around houses, but we can refer you to private contractors. If you and your neighbors do defensible space work together, we are authorized to use the County Fire Chief's Association chipper to help you dispose of the brush. At the household level, we are trained to offer free evaluation and consulting to homeowners on their home ignition zone, prioritizing the easy tasks on the way to minimize the threat of ignition from wildfire.

We can use your help, too. Get together with your neighbors and agree on projects to clear everyone's defensible space, and to ensure safe access and evacuation routes. We always need trained volunteers to monitor BLC crews. The camp offers training every rainy season, and now you no longer need to renew the training every year. We have a lot of information to share, but no website; we badly need help with web design, especially experience with Google Sites. Grant money is harder and harder to come by, so local donations more and more important to our mission.