As California's fire crews prepare for what is expected to be another year of uncontrollable blazes, the state's top leaders are urging residents to take their own action to prevent wildfires.
Governor Gavin Newsom and California's first responders announced a statewide push to prepare residents for the "inevitable" fires expected to ravage the state this year.
"Californians need to accept fire as part of our natural landscape, understand the fire risk, and take action before a wildfire starts," Cal Fire Deputy Chief Scott McLean said in announcing "Wildfire Preparedness Week," which runs from May 5 to 11.
The agency reminded homeowners to use fire-safe materials, fire-resistant landscaping and to create a defensible space clear of vegetation at least 100 feet around their home.
"Taking the initiative to prepare your home and your community will be key in preventing the unfathomable damage that these intense wildfires can cause," Cal Fire Director Chief Thom Porter said.
Residents were also urged to download the "Ready for Wildfire" app to complete a checklist that can help residents prepare their homes and create evacuation plans. More information can be found here.
The state's emergency responders have been doing their part to prepare, Porter said. The agency has identified 35 projects covering 90,000 acres of California, that can reduce fuel in some of the most vulnerable communities.
Details on the projects are expected to be announced at a press conference with Gov. Newsom, Cal Fire, the California National Guard, The U.S. Forest Service, California Highway Patrol and other agencies that deal with some of the state's most devastating wildfires.
The National Interagency Fire Center said last week that a heavy crop of grasses and fine fuels along the West Coast would elevate the potential for wildfires as it dries through the summer.
Cal Fire noted that persistent near-drought conditions, combined with warmer temperatures and more severe winds "will lead to more frequent and catastrophic fires this year."