The USDA Forest Service Pacific Southwest Region has partnered with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Prevention and partners across the state, reminding communities and the public that live and work within wildland and forested areas about the importance, especially this pandemic emergency, of preparing their homes and properties for wildfire.

“Preparedness is key to California residents reducing their exposure and risks to destructive wildfires,” said Anthony Scardina, Deputy Regional Forester for Region 5. “We stand shoulder to shoulder with our wildland fire service partners at the state and local levels to protect our fellow Californians in 2020 and beyond. We need all citizens and visitors of California to help prepare for and prevent wildfires, especially during this pandemic emergency to reduce impacts to communities and preserve firefighting resources throughout the state and country.”

The education-focused week occurs annually in May and highlights the benefits and techniques of home hardening, defensible space, and technologies that help homeowners and communities to be both proactive and prepared. Partnership and Preparedness are exponentially more important this year as we all adjust to a new normal.

Wildfire preparedness tips

• Get your fuels reduction and defensible space work done now and keep it maintained.

• Due to the unprecedented pandemic situation, we need you to do your part more than ever in preventing human-caused fires. Fewer human-caused fires will not only help protect communities from wildfire but will also preserve firefighting resources.

• 95% of wildfire in California are human-caused, and 25% of those are from unattended campfires. Help us, by reducing or eliminating the wildfires that can be prevented. Abide by your local fire restrictions, don’t park in overgrown grass, if towing a trailer make sure the tow chains are not dragging on the ground, drown your campfire and barbecues and make sure they are dead out.

• We need you to be extra cautious this year with any kind of ignition source, whether using a welding torch, a lantern or smoking. One less spark could mean one less preventable wildfire.

The Forest Service manages 18 National Forests in the Pacific Southwest Region, which encompasses over 20 million acres across California, and assists State and Private forest landowners in California, Hawaii and the U.S. Affiliated Pacific Islands. National forests supply 50% of the water in California and form the watershed of most major aqueducts and more than 2,400 reservoirs throughout the state. For more information, visit www.fs.usda.gov/R5.