Fire officials, residents
seek safer solutions through council
by Earl Bates
Fire prevention education and activities of particular interest
to the Ojai community were presented and discussed last week
at a meeting of the Ojai Valley Fire Safe Council.
Ventura County Fire Chief Bob Roper said the OVFSC is important
because "it is community-minded members trying to get other
community members to protect the area they live in. They are
coming up with ideas on how to get neighbors to work together
to do voluntary fire prevention."
Every community has special fire prevention needs; the OVFSC
helps Ojai residents identify those needs and coordinate with
the fire departments. "There are a lot of different issues
that come up with each community," said Sandi Wells, chief
information officer for the Ventura County Fire Department, "The
idea is to work together to find the answers."
"All of the fire safe councils are designed so the community
and the fire departments work together," she said. "We
come up with answers to difficult questions for protection in
the wildland urban interface, especially in areas like Ojai and
other cities that have so much open area."
At the meeting, Roper discussed a new system for helping protect
orchards and homes, especially ones bordering on wildlands. The
system includes foam spraying equipment on a trailer that carries
150 gallons of water. The system will be available for farmers,
ranchers and homeowners. Used in conjunction with a weed abatement
program, the system could be very effective in helping prevent
fire spreading from adjacent property.
Another solution Roper discussed is the simple but crucial fitting
of hoses and plumbing parts. Firefighters working on private
properties have had some problems attaching hoses to water tanks
and lines because fittings don't match. That doesn't mean property
owners need to change all of their pipes, but providing a junction
with a 2-1/2-inch male National Standard thread-fitting would
allow firefighters to connect with private water systems. Roper
is available to help with any questions, he asked residents to
call him at 389-9701.
Roper also talked about a Neighborhood Watch program to help
reduce the risk of arson. Information about the arson watch program
and other topics including the fire history of Ojai Valley, strategies
for orchard fire protection, and the benefits of biomass reutilization
will be presented Sept. 16 at 7 p.m. at Chaparral Auditorium,
414 E. Ojai Ave. The program will occur again Sept. 19 at 7 p.m.
at Chapel by the Pines, 195 Mahoney Ave., Oak View. Also at these
meetings, people can sign up for the truckloads of mulch that
will be distributed by the C.R.E.W. Residents are welcome to
call Will Castagna, secretary of the OVFSP, at 646-7307 for more
© 2002 The Ojai Valley News
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