June 2018
Mt. San Antonio from Rancho Cucamonga: photo by Amanda Walker
Click here for all articles

Wildfires are a Matter of When, Not If

Prevention and training are critical to keeping our community safe from wildfires.

firetruck house on fire

California's climate, terrain, and drought conditions are prime factors for wildfire danger. So much so, in fact, that our state is one of the most likely to experience them. Unprecedented wildfires devastated whole neighborhoods and communities in northern and southern California just last year. Rancho Cucamonga faced a similar threat as the Grand Prix wildfire bore down on our community 15 years ago.

The 2003 Grand Prix and 2014 Etiwanda fires demonstrated that the magnitude of wildfires fueled by Santa Ana winds, in terms of suppression efforts and response, far exceeds the capacity of day-to-day resources. If not for the California mutual aid system and the willingness of cooperators to send help during our time of need, the outcome for our community would have been devastating. Today, Rancho Cucamonga firefighters stand ready to respond to wildfires following joint training exercises with state, federal and neighboring agencies. These collaborative trainings help strengthen relationships and refine strategies and tactics for an effective response.

fire men

The Fire District is committed to participating in the State's mutual aid program, helping neighbors when needed and calling upon regional agencies when our community needs help. Three years ago, the District's fleet expanded with the addition of a brush engine owned by California's Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES). In exchange for local use, Cal OES requires Rancho Cucamonga firefighters to staff the unit when it's requested for a fire anywhere in the state.

fire truck

While firefighters train and prepare for wildfire through fire hazard abatement and community awareness programs, residents are encouraged to prepare their homes as well. If you live closer to our foothills, create a defensible space around your home that includes low growing plants with high moisture content. Remove dead branches or trees and clear weeds and dry vegetation from around your property. Roofs and eaves are also vulnerable to flying embers in a wildfire, so be sure to clean your rain gutters and inspect your attic roof vents for proper installation and integrity.

History has shown that it's not a matter of if a wildfire will threaten our community, but when it will happen again. Learn more about wildfire preparedness and what to do in an emergency at www.RCFire.org/ReadyRC.