This “fireman in your pocket” booklet is based and contains excerpts from the PSW General Technical Report #67 Living More Safely at the Chaparral-Urban Interface. It provides information to reduce the chance of wildfire and mudflow disasters and the hardship, both personal and financial, they bring.
This report will take you behind the fire lines as seen through the eyes of desperate homeowners knowing their disaster-prone neighborhood and attempting to work with professional firefighters not knowing the area, with both groups of firefighters being overcome by a fast-running but predictable wildland fire.
For the questionnaire received by NFES, please follow the link.
The International Association of Fire Chiefs provides 34 observations and comments in response to the 1993 California fire storm disasters based largely on communication with fire services. While some point to the need for timely available water resources, none addresses the Superscooper airplanes, or concerns raised by firefighters and homeowners that were on the fire lines on how to reduce fire losses during wildland fires.
PSW #67 describes how to live more safely in flood- and slide-prone chaparral environments and is addressed to homeowners, buyers, developers, architects, planners and officials in public agencies.
The proceedings of the Conference and Public Workshop provide an integrated approach to public safety by addressing fire-, vegetation, and watershed management, landuse and planning; and disaster prevention, preparation and assistance.
Basic Wildland-Urban Interface Fire Safety Concepts, Fire Exposure (Risk) and Hazard are summarized along with examples of home and live losses during wildland fires.
The home can be a safe fire shelter if the homeowner creates one. Not being prepared, leaving your home and being caught in the open as a wildfire overruns your area is still the major cause of civilian fatalities during wildfires.
Fire Watch - Night time photos of fires can be deceiving. These photos were taken before the fire, during the burnout period, and after the fire behind mobile homes (of largely evacuated residents) guarded during the night against firebrands by K. Radtke. Any comments?
His 1982 “Fireman in a pocket” booklet was updated by Dr. Radtke after the 2003 wildfires in San Diego County at the request of the City of San Diego Water Department, the San Diego Fire Recovery Network and the Conservation Action Committee to assure that the information will remain in public domain.
This report looks at fireprone Los Angeles County watersheds from 1979 to 2018 with an emphasis on the positive impact of the Superscooper airplanes, if deployed. It also indicates that on a per acre basis wildland fire losses in high density watershed areas within “cities” can readily exceed the per acre losses in exposed wildland fire areas but that such future losses can be readily mitigated through preplanning which requires homeowners and fire services as active participants. N. California cities such as Berkeley and Oakland had similar experiences and fall into the same categories.
This report evaluated the extreme wildland fire hazard in a high elevation forested community situated in Northern California where one of the Board members of the National Foundation For Environmental Safety lived, who was assisting the local fire services with initiating a meaningful fuel hazard reduction program.
While wildfire frequency is rare in such high elevation communities, wooden homes nestled among pine forests are a design-for-disaster waiting to happen everywhere.
The Effect of Fire Frequencies on Species Diversity Vegetative Cover and Floristic Changes in Chaparral Communities 1981
Dr. Radtke’s 1981 PH.D thesis at U.C. Berkeley attempts to provide background information for management decisions based on an understanding of the successional dynamics of chaparral ecosystems.
Fire records for fires over 40.5 ha (100 acres) were analyzed for the fire exclusion period 1919-1980 to demonstrate the predictive effect of land use, climate, vegetation, topography, fuel loading and fire suppression activities on fire patterns and fire behavior.
This report was produced under the cooperative “Chaparral Ecology and Related Ecosystems Studies” program between the County of Los Angeles and the Forest Service PSW Experimental Station in Berkeley. It evaluates accumulated files of sixty years of tree outplantings efforts since 1911 and field outplantings for the last 25 years by the County Forester and Fire Warden and also introduced wildland fire history and fire frequency maps as a predictive management tool for siting of future tree plantations.
Purpose of the web site
Being dismayed by the seemingly endless and often quite predictable and largely preventable wildland fire losses encountered again in 2018, such as in the Paradise and Woolsey Fires in California and the continuing heartaches that come along with it, I decided to host—perhaps somewhat belatedly—this Website after my retirement from the politics of fire safety. I hope it will assist homeowners in the most fire-prone areas to truly understand the dangers they are facing, to be able to live more fire-safely, and to know how to prepare on a year-round basis for the inevitable wildland fire, perhaps even becoming able-bodied and knowledgeable “Resident Firefighters.” If not, we are just continuing the never-ending game of hopelessly chasing our tails as it then becomes a game of playing Russian Roulette, being lucky enough not “to bite the bullet” if we: a) have water pressure as the fire approaches and overruns our neighborhood; b) have experienced firefighters tying into our homes that have not responded from or not having been released “dead-tired” from other fires while bringing along equipment geared for effective firefighting in our neighborhood; c) perhaps having received a couple of precision water drops on our home if it could be seen through the thick smoke and the winds were not too strong to make this possible; d) are living in a community where the municipality had the courage to ban any type of wood shingle roofs (still the largest reason for structural wildland fire losses along with wood decks) and mandated only Class A roofs during the last wildland fire that devastated your neighborhood.
National Foundation for Environmental Safety
The history and background information of the National Foundation for Environmental Safety (NFES).