FOLSOM (CBS13) – California’s worsening drought conditions, coupled with constant fires, are prompting one local fire department to declare an emergency.
“This year has been pretty unprecedented,” explained Folsom Battalion Chief, Matt McGee.READ MORE: Fire Burning Multiple Structures In Rio Linda
McGee explained that bone-dry brush, with no green, is a scary sight for Folsom firefighters to see close to homes and businesses.
“These open spaces create a huge potential for wildland fires to propagate right next to homes,” he said,
The fire department is now asking the city to declare a local emergency, giving them the power to close off and ban access to open space areas.
Already this year, the department has responded to 47 brush fires. The majority of those have been caused by humans.READ MORE: Proposed Campground Expansion At Auburn State Recreation Area Draws Concern Over Wildfire Risk
“If we can keep those starts from happening, that’s fire we don’t have to fight,” McGee said.
Firefighters are hoping to prevent brush fires like one burning just feet from the Beach Hut Deli.
“It’s amazing that it is so close to our businesses here, explained Folsom resident Richard Cornelius. “We need to take drastic measures now to preserve our communities and to reduce the opportunity of fire,” he said.
This first-of-its-kind move comes with support from local residents.
“It’s a potential calamity all the time,” said David Shari. “I don’t think that makes me happy that people can’t go out and enjoy nature, but at the same time, the potential for danger is really, really big. I’m glad that they are at least getting in front of it,” he said. “What we see is an increase in fire behavior, the fires are getting bigger, they are becoming more volatile and harder to contain,” explained McGee.MORE NEWS: Fire Burning In Highway 160 Overpass Reveals Person Living Inside
If passed, the emergency declaration would not affect trails and bike paths. The City council is set to vote on the proposal next week.