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National Fire Prevention Week kicked off Sunday

SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif.- The 100th Annual National Fire Prevention Week is underway.

Santa Barbara county is no stranger to fires late in the year.
firefighters want to make sure everyone is prepared.

Fire season is year round in Santa Barbara county.

Tuesday marks one year since the Alisal Fire broke out, burning more than 17,000 acres and destroying 12 homes along the Gaviota coast.

The Santa Barbara Cave Fire broke out in the hills above Santa Barbara in November 2019.

The devastating Thomas Fire started in Ventura county in December of 2017, before burning into Santa Barbara county.

“Fire knows no season any longer. And we're getting into our higher fire season with the Sundowners, with the Santa Ana winds and Southern California,” said Santa Barbara County Fire Spokesman Mike Eliason.

Cal Fire and the U.S. Forest Service have responded to more than 6,700 fires in California so far this year.

This week is fire prevention week-- and firefighters in Santa Barbara county want everyone to know how to stay prepared for future wildfires.

“We promote the ready, set, go program. Be ready in case there is a wildfire and have all your stuff set to go. And then if you're asked to evacuate to please do so,” said Eliason.

It's not just wildfires— firefighters also want you to be ready for house fires.
Cynthia Ordaz was seven years old when she had to evacuate during a house fire.

“I do remember firefighters having to come to our house and just tell us to take all our important stuff out of the house, like documents,” said Ordaz.

“Once you hear the smoke detector in your house, you might only have 2 minutes or so to get out safely. So what we ask of you is to just have a conversation and say, okay, let's plan two ways out in case the first exit is blocked due to fire or you can't get out. So you have a second way out to get safely,” said Eliason.

Firefighters say smoke alarms cut the risk of a deadly house fire in half, so you should check and replace them regularly.

Community members are also encouraged to create a disaster supply kit equipped with food, water, prescription medications and other supplies.

As the drought continues, cities up and down the coast are at a higher risk of wildfires.

Residents can take proactive measures to protect their homes by cutting back brush right around their property.

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Mina Wahab

Arab-American producer & reporter with a mission to dig deep in interviews, share authentically, shed light on the issues that matter, and provoke deep thought.

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