This photo was taken in Green Valley Lake during the 2007 fires, four of which prompted evacuations in the mountain communities.

Per a declaration from Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, this week is Wildfire Awareness Week in California and, with it, the launch of the Ready! Set! Go! Program by California fire agencies including CalFire and the San Bernardino County Fire Department. This year’s theme during Wildfire Awareness Week, which runs May 2-8, is “Wildfire is coming… Is your home ready?” Per County Fire Chief Pat Dennen, “Firefighters train hard and make countless preparations to be ready for a wildfire. Residents need to do the same. Successfully preparing for a wildfire requires residents to take personal responsibility for protecting themselves, their family and their property.” Though Big Bear Valley residents are well versed in creating defensible space, given the threat posed by living in a wildland/urban interface, the new Ready! Set! Go! approach outlines the importance of being ready by reducing the risk, being set by having an evacuation and survival plan, and “go!” as in go early when directed to evacuate. Local fire agencies within the Big Bear Valley have prepared a Big Bear-specific Ready! Set! Go! brochure, which will be available at fire departments by month’s end and, should a grant funding opportunity come through, this important information will be mailed to homeowners. Our local fire departments are also partnering to create a Valley-wide chipping program, the details of which are also expected to be released in coming weeks. In the meantime, CalFire Chief Del Waters reminds, “The first week in May is recognized as Wildfire Awareness Week, but residents need to be aware of the threat wildfire poses every day.” For preparedness tips on Ready! Set! Go!, you can visit