BIG SUR, Calif. (KION-TV) -- Cal Fire and its partnering agencies have spent wildfire preparedness week bringing awareness to threats and protection during wildfires.
A local meeting was held at the Colorado Fire Helibase in Monterey to discuss how people can harden their homes and create defensible spaces.
With fire season around the corner, officials say it's important to stay proactive.
“This wild fire crisis and the wildfire problem and climate change isn’t just local. It’s something that’s woven through the western United States," said Jimmy Harris, Los Padres Deputy Forest Fire Management Officer.
Climate change has created drier, hotter and longer summers, resulting in natural resources being stretched thin.
To help Cal Fire fight against the unpredictable fire season to come, California has put $1.5 billion dollars into wildfire resilience programs.
This amount of funding has been divided to help launch over 550 projects, within 40 programs, across 21 departments.
“Including the new S70I helicopter that is sitting behind us, that is based out of Hollister California," said Chief Joe Tyler, Cal Fire Director.
Cal Fire BEU has had the chopper for a few months.
"We've spent a lot of time this winter training on this copter before we got it. It's been really good opportunity for us to get hands-on, train, practice," said Captain Matt Williams for CAL FIRE BEU. "There's a lot of neat tools with this.”
Local officials said that being proactive and prepared is your best line of defense, especially since there's no permanent way of getting rid of wildfires.
“Before wildfires occur, home hardening can increase the likelihood of your home surviving a fire," said Mary Adams, Monterey County District 5 Supervisor. "Defensible space around your home to slow or stop the spread of wildfire.”
It's also recommended that you get into conversations with your neighbors to create a fire-wise community.
At the very least have an evacuation plan ready.
If a fire comes knocking at your door, you need to be ready to leave at a moment's notice.
“When you’re asked to leave, leave. Don’t wait," said Kyle Foster, Assistant Chief for the CHP Coastal Division. "If you wait until the fire reaches your door, it's already too late and you’re putting yourself at risk, and you’re putting our first responders at risk.”
For more information on how to protect yourself and property against wild fires, follow the link below.