Staff Report

Burn permits have been suspended and fire responses beefed up since the declaration on May 14 of High Fire Season in Santa Barbara County.

During fire season, all area fire departments increase the amount of staffing and equipment in first responses to vegetation fires, in the hope of keeping them from getting out of hand.

The Santa Barbara County Fire Department is repeating seasonal reminders that residents should maintain vegetation clearance around structures, create or review a wildfire action and escape plan, and be extra cautious when traveling or staying in wildland areas.

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In preparation for the 2018 wildfire season, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) has opened its new Wildfire Safety Operations Center.

The center will be staffed 24/7 to monitor potential fire threats across PG&E’s service area and coordinate with first responders and public safety officials.

The Wildfire Safety Operations Center is part of PG&E’s Community Wildfire Safety Program, launched in March after the Thomas Fire, as an additional precautionary measure intended to reduce wildfire threats.

“Extreme weather is increasing the number of wildfires and length of wildfire season in California. We must continue to adapt to meet the challenges created by this ‘new normal,’” said Pat Hogan,  PG&E senior vice president of Electric Operations.

The center will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, during wildfire season and will be operational at other times as well, depending on conditions.