SAN ANDREAS – Effective 8 a.m. on Monday, May 30, 2005, the CDF will officially open fire season in the Tuolumne/Calaveras Unit (TCU). This includes the Counties of Calaveras, Tuolumne, and those eastern portions of San Joaquin and Stanislaus that are within the State Responsibility Area. All TCU Fire Stations will be open and staffed with the exception of Skull Creek and Hermit Springs, which will open as soon as they are accessible. Helicopter 404 is currently in full operation at Columbia Air Attack Base, with the Air Attack and two Air Tankers scheduled to come on base June 16, 2005. All fire crews at Baseline and Vallecito Conservation Camps are currently available. Additional seasonal firefighters will be hired the third week of June to bring the Unit to peak staffing of 21 fire engines for the summer.
CDF Unit Chief Fred McVay asks all area residents to firesafe their property for the fire season and reminds everyone that maintaining 100´ of defensible space around their homes is the single most important step in preparing for a wildfire. He says, “Late rains have caused a seriously abundant crop of grass in the Foothills. This needs to be cut down and removed now while conditions are still safe and the growth has not dried out to a hazardous level.”
With the declaration of fire season the public needs to have a heightened sense of awareness with any activity that may start a wildfire. Burning is currently allowed by permit on permissive burn days only.