As of 8:49 a.m. this morning, nearly 255,858 acres of land had been burned by the Yosemite National Park blaze. Now believed to be at 81 percent containment, there are nearly 2,000 personnel fighting the fire at any given moment. Cost to date is over $111 million, and officials are saying that the fire may not be contained until Friday of this week.
The fourth-largest (and still growing) conflagration in modern California history, the wildfire burning in and around Yosemite National Park has been burning since August 17th, destroying homes (11), commercial properties (3) and threatening countless other structures. Sparked by a hunter’s illegal campfire, the blaze has become a major concern for many California car rental travelers; at one point, a major route into the National Park had to be shut down to the public because the flames were too dangerous.
While fires are a common occurrence in California, there’s a great deal that California car rental customers can do in order to prevent these dangerous blazes from starting and spreading. As we enter the fall season and brace for another round of Santa Ana winds, now’s the time to brush up on your fire safety and prepare your California car rental for Red Flag Alerts. Together, we can help prevent fires like the one still burning in Yosemite National Park.
High Risk Areas to Make Note Of
Did you know: the simple act of starting your car over a pile of dry leaves can spark an uncontrollable wildfire? This is especially true if you’re in a high fire danger zone. The following areas are often recognized as high-risk areas, however it’s important to note that any area can become a danger zone during especially dry periods.
- The Pacific Coast Highway – specifically in the Malibu area
- The Hollywood Hills area of Mulholland Drive
- Hiking trails up the side of Mt. Lee, near the Hollywood Sign
- Hiking trails up Runyan Canyon
- The areas around the Hollywood Bowl, the John Anson Ford Amphitheatre, and the Greek Theatre
- Camping at Malibu Creek, or any other campground in the area
Preventing Wildfires – How You Can Make a Difference
California car rental travelers can (and should!) do their part to prevent deadly wildfires. The following are a few important prevention tips to remember when you’re out and about on your upcoming California adventure:
- Tire pressure – Metal dragging on the asphalt can often create enough friction to start a fire during dry conditions. As such, it’s important to check to make sure that the tires on your California car rental are properly inflated so that your vehicle travels at a safe distance above the ground. While the mechanics at SuperCheap check the tire pressure of all the vehicles in our fleet regularly, it never hurts to double check before you head out on road trip.
- If you smoke, resist the urge to light up when you’re out hiking, mountain biking, or sightseeing on nature trails. What’s more, never, ever through a cigarette butt out your California car rental window.
- When camping, never light a fire unless it is in a designated fire pit. Furthermore, pay attention to campfire restrictions – these will sometimes prohibit all campfires, even those in designated fire pits. These limitations are put in place for a reason, after all.
What to Do When Fire Strikes
While prevention can go a long way to limiting fires, accidents and natural disasters do happen. As such, it’s important that you and your California car rental travelers know what to do if ever you find yourself in the middle of a fiery situation.
First off, if you spot a wildfire, call 911 immediately. Make note of your location, the time, and the severity of the fire. Leave the area to ensure your safety. Alternatively, if you’re ever contacted by the fire department concerning a wildfire situation, pay close attention to their directions. If you’re asked to evacuate, don’t hesitate – do so immediately without argument. Your safety is likely in danger.
If you’re not in the fire area, resist the urge to drive out in your California car rental to observe the situation. Additional traffic on the roads will interfere with the fire department and their efforts to contain the blaze. If you must watch the scene, tune in on the local news.
Yosemite: What Happens Next?
It’s hard to tell what will happen to the hunter accused of setting the fire in Yosemite. Many believe he will be formally charged; back in 2003, a blaze in the Cleveland National Forest east of San Diego (the state’s largest forest fire on record) was found to be started by a novice deer hunter who became lost and set a signal fire in hopes of being rescued. The hunter, Sergio Martinez, was sentenced to six months in a work-furlough program, 960 hours of community service, and five years of probation in 2005.