Officials gather in Hemet to stress wildfire prevention

'Wildfire Awareness Week' is May 3-9

HEMET, Calif. - Riverside County officials gathered in Hemet on Friday to stress the importance of taking precautions to prevent wildfires this summer amid bone-dry conditions.

May 3-9 is ``Wildfire Awareness Week,'' and with the statewide drought increasing the risks of major outbreaks, officials want the public to fully understand the need for extra caution when handling any device that could ignite a blaze and learn how to harden properties against fire threats.

News Channel 3 and CBS Local 2's Megan Terlecky was at the news briefing and she'll highlight the major points in a full report Friday evening.

``CalFire and fire departments across the state will remind residents of the dangers posed by wildfires and the simple steps that should be followed to prepare for and prevent them,'' according to a CalFire statement. ``With this year's record low rain and continued drought impacts, the importance of
preparing for wildfires has only been heightened.''

CalFire Director Ken Pimlott, Riverside County Fire Chief John Hawkins and county Supervisor Chuck Washington will assemble for a news briefing at the Hemet-Ryan Fire Attack Base, where a number of fixed-wing and rotorcraft firefighting aircraft are kept.

The speakers addressed not only prevention techniques but also the strategies in place for contending with outbreaks during fire season, which generally spans May to November.

Crews have already been busy battling conflagrations. Last month, a wind-driven blaze in Jurupa Valley destroyed several homes, while a separate brusher -- triggered by an unattended campfire -- consumed more than 1,000 acres north of Corona Municipal Airport.

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