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Butte Co. continues preps for wildfire season

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PARADISE, Calif. - Don't let the cooler weather fool you.

Chairman of the Paradise Ridge Fire Safe Council (PRFSC), Phil John, said fire season isn't over yet, despite the start of fall.

"Pretty warm today and windy, scary," John said. "When it starts cooling down and raining a lot then fire season will end, sooner the better."

The continued threat of fires prompted PRFSC in partnership with local fire prevention agencies to hold a second wildfire safety and preparedness presentation Wednesday night at the Elks Lodge in Paradise.

They hosted the first one in Magalia. Wednesday night's attendance was high, almost filing every seat.

"I think the turn out tonight really proves how important it is becoming to people and how much they're realizing that they've got to take responsibility for themselves in these times of crisis," John said.

He referenced Hurricane Harvey and Irma as examples of why people need to prepare in advance. He added that the American Red Cross evacuation centers can take up to 72 hours to assemble.

"We should be prepared for any disaster at any time."

That includes packing a go-bag. CAL FIRE advises packing a three-day food supply and three gallons of water per person, plus medications and clothes.

During their presentation, the Council recommended putting valuable pictures and important documents onto a flash drive for convenience.

Thomas Maxwell and his wife, Betty, are long-time residents of Paradise. Thomas said he attends the Council's presentations as a way to learn more and figure out how he and his wife can improve their preparedness.

"I need to work more on a go bag and also preparing getting the pets out in a very, very limited amount of time," he said.

The Council also addressed the concerns of defensible space and home air vents.

"If you want to live in the forest, like we do, you've got to be prepared for the fact that forests catch on fire," John said. The Council even brought a defensible space display, which consisted of models of two homes. One was defensible and the other was not.

In regards to air vents, they explained how homes can burn from the inside out. This happens when embers get through the air vents and start a fire inside the home before the fire reaches it from the outside.

Through FEMA grant money, up to 40 homes in Butte County, from Nimshew Road to southern Paradise, will qualify for new, specialized air vent installations.

The upgraded vents break down ember particles before they enter the house.

The PRFSC meets the second Wednesday of every month in Paradise. To learn more, click here.

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