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S.C.V. History
October 1
1842 - Proof of discovery: New York Observer (newspaper) reports on gold in Placerita Canyon. [story]
New York Observer


Ken StriplinHistorically, California has been the most wildfire prone state in the United States. In 2021, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, reported over 4,000 fires that burned 60,507 acres across the state.

Just in Los Angeles County, there were 10 reported fires, two being the North Fire and Towsley Fire, which together burned nearly 900 acres. This year, there have been more than 3,500 fires throughout the state. This is mostly due to the current drought, historically low rainfall and the intensifying extreme heat.. For this reason, we must stay informed on fire safety tips to support the Los Angeles County Fire Department and to keep our community safe.

Our city is no stranger to the impact fire can cause to a community. In 2019, we had the largest evacuation in city history, with 40,000 Santa Clarita residents fleeing the flames of the Tick Fire. When the smoke finally cleared, 4,615 acres were burned and 22 structures were destroyed. If not for the heroic efforts of firefighters and first responders, I could not imagine just how much more damage our community could have potentially seen. Understanding that the climate and conditions for fires to thrive already exist in our region emphasizes the importance of being cautious and prepared.

As we enter fire season, we must do our part to protect our property, which in turn protects our community. Checking for flammable items in your home and regularly maintaining your smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors and home landscaping, all contribute to your home’s safety. CAL FIRE recommends creating a defensible space of 100 feet around your home by clearing dead trees, brush and vegetation. You can also protect your home by taking precautions such as clearing any debris on your roof, using ember- and flame-resistant vents and having a fire extinguisher readily available. Following these essential guidelines can aid in keeping you and your neighbors safe when the next wildfire strikes.

In addition to preparing your home, I urge each of you to put together an emergency supply kit or if you already have one packed, make sure the items are up-to-date and not expired. These types of kits and backpacks should include items such as a flashlight, change of clothing, non-perishable food, water, prescriptions, first aid kit, sanitation supplies, cash and any other essentials for you and your loved ones to stay safe. And don’t forget about your four-legged family members—our pets rely on us to make sure they have food and water in emergencies. The Los Angeles County Fire Department makes preparation easy for residents by providing Ready! Set! Go! action plan templates and resources that can be downloaded at fire.LACounty.gov/RSG.

Waiting until a wildfire begins is often too late to make a plan. So prepare your home, emergency kits and evacuation plan now. We are well within fire season and, as Santa Ana winds pick up in the fall, the likelihood of a fire increases. For this reason, take the time to educate yourself, your family and your loved ones on fire prevention and preparedness today. In prioritizing fire safety and education, we also support the firefighters and first responders who work tirelessly to protect our lives and the Santa Clarita community.

Ken Striplin is Santa Clarita’s City Manager and can be reached at kstriplin@santa-clarita.com.

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