Wildfire: A constant danger

Sesnon/Marek Fire -- F# 10917

The threat of wildfires, earthquakes and other natural disasters is a reality that Southern Californians live with year-round.

With California’s drought now in its fifth year, the potential for wildfires is especially great this summer, said LA County Fire Chief Daryl Osby.

“While El Niño produced some rain, it was not nearly enough to restore water levels or alleviate the heightened threat of wildfire,” he said.

County departments, including Fire, Public Works and the Office of Emergency Management, monitor weather conditions to remain vigilant in their protection of lives and property.

Firefighters use air and ground resources to respond immediately to wildfires before they escalate, Osby said, but fighting fires also means residents need to do their part to prepare for fire emergencies and prevent them from happening in the first place.

The “Ready, Set, Go!” Wildfire Action Plan is available for download at: fire.lacounty.gov.

Residents of fire-prone areas are also invited to visit their local fire station, meet with the crew and discuss concerns particular to their locality. Property owners are strongly advised to keep roof areas free of debris and to clear a defensible space between structures, trees and brush.

To prepare for wildfires and other potential emergencies, the Office of Emergency Management prepared a comprehensive Emergency Survival Guide.

Sandbags free to County residents

The time to pick-up, fill and place sandbags is before they are needed during storms. LA County provides free sandbags to protect homes and businesses from flooding.

Sandbags are easy to use and efficiently redirect storm and debris flows away from structures.

During storm season, sandbags are available at County of Los Angeles fire stations. Sand is not available in all County locations, but a seasonal resource list will show which locations do have sand, as well as bags.

Residents in incorporated areas may also contact their City Hall or local fire department for sandbags and local rules in their cities.

An additional resource is the City of Los Angeles listing of fire stations and locations with sandbags and sand for City of LA residents.

Agencies do not fill, load or place sandbags.

Click here for a video on how to fill and place sandbags.

Slide closes Vasquez Canyon Road

Vasquez Canyon Road is closed east of Bouquet Canyon due to a landslide that is uplifting and buckling a 150-foot stretch of roadway. Cracks on the slope above the road are active and continue to expand and the heave is continuing to rise in height. Public Works engineers and geologists are investigating the cause.

Power poles along the roadway have also been affected and have since been de-energized.

Hard closure of Vasquez Canyon Road is in effect between Lost Creek Road to Vasquez Way until further notice. Deviation of the roadway was first reported around noon on Thursday, November 19; deformation grew more pronounced throughout Thursday afternoon.

The City of Santa Clarita is recommending Sierra Highway as an alternate route.