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Santa Barbra County fire officials say to prepare for wildfire now

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Santa Maria Fire Department on Twitter

SANTA YNES, Calif. - It's wildfire preparedness week, and with wildfire season approaching, fire agencies are urging everyone to get ready.

Pancho Smith, district ranger for the Santa Barbara County district of Los Padres National Forest, said fire season is all year in California these days. However, it will really pick up in the next couple of weeks.

Smith said 95 percent of wildfires are human-caused and a quarter of those are from campfires.

Other human-caused fires can be from sparks from cars, or even from using lawn equipment during hot times of day.

He said these fires are preventable, and home owners should fix their homes before summer.

"So many homes catch on fire because the embers land in the gutters, and there's pine needles and leaves in the gutters," said Smith.

Captain Daniel Bertucelli of the Santa Barbara County Fire Department, said homeowners should take extra measures to help firefighters.

"Get their defensable space done," said Bertucelli. "Have that good solid 100 feet of clearance around their house that allows firefighters to get in there and get their work done in the event of a wildfire that's blowing through their area."

Crews are preparing a little differently this year during the pandemic. They are wiping down all equipment with sanitizer.

As a precaution, fire crews are also regularly checking temperatures, and not wearing their uniforms into the station.

They will also need to fight fires while physically distancing. That means it could take longer to contain fires.

Coronavirus / Health / Lifestyle / Santa Barbara- S County / Santa Maria - North County

Anikka Abbott

Anikka Abbott is a reporter for KEYT | KCOY | KKFX.