Wildfire risk looms despite scenic recovery, OC Fire Chief warns

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

ORANGE COUNTY, Calif. – Orange County Fire Chief Brian Fennessy takes the look at the hillside around Silverado Canyon. Just four years ago, the area had completely burned down.

“It’s beautiful, right?” Fennessy said. “People say it looks like Ireland.”

As scenic it may look, the OCFA Chief shared a dire warning.

“When we start to see fires this summer spread very rapidly – there’s no doubt people are going to go, ‘Well how did that happen?’” said Fennessy. “Things were so green, they have forgotten that there is a lot of dead fuel still up on our hillsides.”

OCFA and Cal Fire have teamed up and gotten a chance to use state-of-the-art technology in hopes of being as wilfire-season ready as possible. For example, Cal Fire have access to C-130s that the agency had received from the military.

“We can put 4,000 gallons of retardant into those aircraft,” said Cal Fire Chief Anale Burlew.

Burlew said the C-130s carry a capacity of three or four times as the traditional tankers.

Cal Fire is also relying on AI technology on one of its cameras to detect smoke.

“When that AI sees the smoke, it goes to alert our 911 dispatch centers. We have responders arriving at scene before we’re getting our first 911 call, because we were able to get responders on the roads so much quicker because of that AI technology. So it’s just amazing where we have gone with that,” Burlew said.

As exciting as it is to be able to use the high-tech vehicles and cameras, officials are still urging the public to be ready for possible evacuation this wildfire season.

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.