Officials Urge Southlanders to Be Prepared for 2024 Wildfire Season

Firemen equipment on fire truck,Fire engine with equipment stay in the fire department.

Photo: Visoot Uthairam / Moment / Getty Images

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Public safety officials Friday reminded Southlanders to be vigilant in clearing brush from their properties during the 2024 wildfire season -- and to have evacuation plans in place if needed.

"As we all have witnessed, Mother Nature has complemented us with significant rainfall in Southern California in the last couple of years, which was very much needed throughout the state of California," Los Angeles County Fire Department Chief Anthony Marrone said at a multi-agency news conference Friday morning at the LACoFD's headquarters.

"The rain produced large fields of re-vegetation throughout the area, and this year we saw areas that received nearly 200% more rain than usual," Marrone said. "Unfortunately, this vegetation will soon dry out and become fuel for wildland fires, especially in the Santa Monica Mountains, the Santa Clarita Valley and the Antelope Valley.

"That is why we must continue to remain vigilant, and share with residents and communities the importance of being prepared for the wildfires that will come this summer and into the fall, when dangerous Santa Ana winds return. ... We can never let our guard down." Marrone said.

Marrone is the coordinator of the state of California's Fire and Rescue Region One, which covers the counties of Los Angeles, Orange, Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo.

"As such, I work with my fire service partners so we can quickly dispatch mutual-aid resources when a large-scale emergency strikes -- like a wind-driven wildland fire," Marrone said. "With our full range of land and air resources available to our five counties 24 hours a day ... we want to assure our residents and communities that your firefighters in these five counties are prepared and ready to respond at a moment's notice."

Among the other top firefighting officials at the news conference was Los Angeles Fire Department Chief Kristin Crowley.

"This morning we spent a lot of time talking about how we are prepared -- our partnership, our collaboration with the fire service leaders that are behind me," Crowley said. "Just as important are our `boots on the ground' and the firefighters that are here that are fully committed to ensuring that we are ready for this upcoming brush season.

"But with that ... we all know that it's going to take much, much more than a prepared fire service -- it's going to take a prepared community as well," Crowley said.

Crowley urged residents to vigilant in creating a "defensible space" on their properties between buildings and vegetation that could catch fire.

"We have to understand ... that will help your local fire service protect lives and property," Crowley said. "I just want to define what that is: it's a buffer that you create between a building on your property and the grasses, trees, shrubs, or wildland area that surround it."

Crowley noted that the effort to keep property clear of combustibles should continue throughout the year, and not just during wildfire season.

"Wildfire season might peak during certain months -- and that's why we are here today -- but the risk is present year-round," Crowley said. "But the risk is present year-round. ... Together, we can make this brush fire season safer for everyone."

Officials also reminded people to have an evacuation plan ready if ordered to leave their properties for safety reasons, including knowing multiple routes out of a neighborhood.

More information is available on brush clearance and other public safety topics at Information on state resources, including grants for residents to help fireproof their properties, is available at Information on general preparedness for wildfires is available at

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