The United States Forest Service isn’t taking any chances this fire season. Just last night, the Bautista Fire broke out, torching over 160 acres in the San Jacinto Mountains.
Despite a wet winter, firefighters are on high alert. Zach Behrens, Public Information Officer with the San Bernardino National Forest, says several fire prevention technicians are monitoring high-risk areas.
“These firefighters who go around in their trucks solo and patrol the roads; talk to people, educate people about fire prevention.”
Preventing fires is a year-long process. Much of it begins in the Winter.
“We’re going to light the forest floor on fire in a very low-intensity matter. Let it creep around and take up all the little twigs and pine needles, and take that vegetation, which acts like fuel to reduce that.”
The exercise is called prescribed burning. Zach says crews really saw its success, after the Cranston Fire broke out last year near Idyllwild, when the prescription burn area stopped some of the fire’s forward progress.
“It hit that fuel break and it sort of petered out,” Zach said.
The U.S. Forest Service is beginning its preventative cycle once again. It’s hiring hundreds of people statewide for people to work in the off-season. Positions range from scientists to firefighters, and usually span 6 months out of the year. The application process ends September 30th.