By Mike Herges, Graniterock Safety Director
Fast-spreading wildfires plagued the Golden State this summer, and into early fall we continue to see parched terrain go up in flames.
From Sonoma to San Bernardino, hundreds of thousands of acres have been scorched in 2016, destroying homes and triggering evacuations.
State officials say the Soberanes Fire in Big Sur, a fire that refuses to die, is one of the most expensive to fight in U.S. history at $229 million, including hundreds of firefighters on the line for more than two months.
The recent Loma Fire in the Santa Cruz Mountains consumed nearly seven square miles and destroyed 12 homes.
We’re not out of the woods yet.
October is California’s most dangerous month for wildfires with high wind, erratic temperatures and dry conditions from years of drought.
“People think that we are getting out of fire season by October,” said Craig Clements, director of San Jose State’s Fire Weather Research Laboratory. “No. We are getting into it.”
With that in mind, there are steps to take while working outside to prevent your construction site from providing the spark that starts a wildfire.
1. Prior to beginning any work that can cause a spark or ignite combustible materials (grinding, cutting torches, welding and ripping material), the area should be examined for potential fire hazards.
2. Where potential for fire is present, thoroughly wet the area with water, if possible. Repeat as necessary to maintain this preventive measure.
3. Eliminate, shield or cover combustible materials with a non-combustible material in the area where work will be performed.
4. Relocate work to another area where there are no potential fire hazards.
5. Have a water truck, water buffalo and adequate number of fire extinguishers and shovels readily available in the event a fire breaks out.