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Board of Supervisors discuss controlled burns to help battle wildfires

SB Co BOS talks about controlled burns

SANTA MARIA, Calif. - It’s only been a few weeks into fire season and crews already had to battle what at the time was the biggest fire in all of the state--the Alamo Fire.

"These are folks that live in a remote area, there isn’t a lot of access so they are always worried about the next wildfire,” said Steve Lavagnino, Fifth District Supervisor for Santa Barbara County. 

Lavagnino said he’s asking fire officials what they can do before fires the Alamo Fire, in places that haven’t burned for years, break out. 

"It makes sense to me to get experts out there to control it on our terms and out pace mother nature a little bit,” he said.

He’s specifically talking about controlled burns. That means purposely burning areas to get rid of all of the fuels that could ignite a fire.

"It cost us $20 million to fight over this last week both fires on both sides and it’s very costly there has to be a way to do this,” he added. 

As the Alamo Fire raged on and the Whittier Fire gained speed crews from all over the state came to help put out the flames and protect hundreds of threatened homes. 

"Until we start seeing some more rain and weather change we are done for the year,” says Chris Elms, with CAL FIRE about scheduled burns. 

Fire officials say it can be challenging to staff scheduled controlled burns, with fire season underway crews are all over the state helping to put out flames.

"Getting the okay to do it and managing it in a way that it doesn’t affect the environment or escape into a wildfire,” says Elms are some of the challenges. 

Elms says they are under the same ban as everyone else adding if it doesn’t need to be burned they aren’t doing it.


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