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OC Firewatch

OC Fire Watch is a countywide fire watch program to alert the public of elevated fire dangers in wilderness parks and communities across Orange County.

Wildfires are more likely to occur and spread during Red Flag conditions, when strong winds are accompanied by low humidity levels and high temperatures. OC Fire Watch will increase public awareness of the fire dangers by raising red “Fire Alert” flags at OC Parks and other County facilities, as well as at Orange County Fire Authority fire stations and participating City Halls throughout Orange County.

The program will also incorporate fire watch volunteers to help monitor the County’s wilderness parks, which are especially vulnerable to fire during Red Flag conditions. OC Parks and OCFA will raise Fire Alert flags at their respective facilities during designated Red Flag conditions, which will be based on CALFIRE advisories.

Learn more:

History has clearly demonstrated that Southern California wildfires are more likely to occur and more likely to spread when strong winds are accompanied by low humidity levels and high temperatures. 

If the wind speeds are sufficient (25 mph or more) and the humidity levels low enough (less than 15%), this potentially dangerous combination actually prompts an official readiness response called the “Red Flag Program.”

Red Flag conditions typically have four progressive stages that are intended to reduce response time to absolute minimums.  However, please note that, Stage IV (Cancellation) may occur at any time.

  • Fire Alert FlagSTAGE I:  Fire Weather Watch – 
    usually 48 to 72 hours in advance of a Red Flag Alert.
  • STAGE II:  Red Flag Warning –
    usually 24 hours in advance of a Red Flag Alert.
  • STAGE III:  Red Flag Alert
  • STAGE IV:  Cancellation
  • Complete the OC Parks volunteer application online and select “Fire Watch” in Activities section.
  • Print and sign OC Fire Watch Guidelines and Provisions agreement. Send to OC Parks Volunteer Services (mail: 1770 N Broadway, 4th Fl, Santa Ana, CA 92706-2606; or fax 714-667-6519).
  • Attend one Program Orientation Meeting (approx. two hours) conducted by OC Parks
  • Attend one OC Fire Watch Training Session (approx. two hours) conducted by the Orange County Fire Authority
  • Upon acceptance, review welcome e-mail instructions to receive volunteer materials.

Follow these tips when driving:

  • Don’t pull over to the side of the road unless absolutely necessary, especially onto dry grass or brush. Hot exhaust pipes and mufflers can start fires that you won’t see, until it’s too late!
  • Don’t smoke when driving and never throw a lit cigarette or burning match out of a car.
  • No sparks! Sparks from dragging equipment on vehicles or faulty catalytic converters, especially on older trucks on uphill grades, ignite fires. Make vehicle safety upgrades as needed.
  • Report suspicious activity to the OC Fire Authority Arson Tip Line at 1-800-540-8282. Keep a cell phone nearby and call 911 immediately in case of a fire. Many wildland fires are caused by arson.

During Red Flag Alerts, the Transportation Corridor Agencies (TCA) will:

  • Post a message on their Changeable Message Signs (CMS).
  • Place Red Flag signage at all tolling facilities.
  • Post messages on Facebook and Twitter.
  • Inform customers about OC Fire Watch in their billing statements.
    CMS sign      Toll Road CMS Sign
OC Firewatch

Contacts

  • Angeline Soto 
    OC Parks Volunteer Services Coordinator 
    714-566-3035
    1501 East St Andrew Pl, 1st FL, Santa Ana, CA 92705
  • Sandra Hughley
    OC Parks Volunteer Support 
    714-480-2868
    1770 N Broadway, 4th Fl, Santa Ana, CA 92706-2606

OC Fire Authority Arson Tip Line 
(800) 540-8282