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Cal OES supplies damaged after lawnmower sparks fire by Herald fire station

Officials said the damage happened after a vegetation fire sparked near the fire station

HERALD, Calif. — CAL OES supplies kept on-site at the Herald Fire Protection District were damaged after a lawnmower sparked a fire Monday.

Officials said no structures were burned and no one was injured during the 2-acre fire. However, some "k-rails" belonging to Cal OES were damaged. The "k-rails" were used for flood protection.

Volunteer Fire Chief James Hendricks said the damage happened after a vegetation fire sparked near the fire station on Ivie Road. The cause, according to Hendricks, was a lawnmower. 

The department is advising people to avoid mowing their lawns for the rest of the summer.

"I wouldn't mow for the rest of the season. Use a weed eater," Hendricks said.

This incident comes nearly two weeks after Cal Fire's Tuolumne-Calaveras unit doused a lawnmower-sparked wildfire in Copperopolis that grew to 4 acres. Officials said the unsafe use of the mower sparked that blaze.

"Lawn Mowers are for GREEN grass not dead/brown/tall native vegetation," the Cal Fire Tuolumne-Calaveras Unit said on Facebook.

WILDFIRE PREPS

According to Cal Fire, 2020 was one of the most severe fire seasons on record as 9,917 wildfires burned 4.2 million acres. Over 9,000 structures were destroyed, and 31 people (civilians and firefighters) were killed. 

California also experienced its first "Gigafire" because of the August Complex Fire, burning over 1 million acres by itself. Four of California's top five largest wildfires in state history happened in 2020. 

If you live in a wildfire-prone zone, Cal Fire suggests creating a defensible space around your home. Defensible space is an area around a building in which vegetation and other debris are completely cleared. At least 100 feet is recommended.

The Department of Homeland Security suggests assembling an emergency kit that has important documents, N95 respirator masks, supplies to grab with you if you’re forced to leave at a moment’s notice. The agency also suggests signing up for local warning system notifications and know your community’s evacuation plans best to prepare yourself and your family in cases of wildfires.

Some counties use Nixle alerts to update residents on severe weather, wildfires, and other news. To sign up, visit www.nixle.com or text your zip code to 888777 to start receiving alerts. 

PG&E customers can also subscribe to alerts via text, email, or phone call. If you're a PG&E customer, visit the Profile & Alerts section of your account to register.

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