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Fire Safety

August 2, 2008 | Bettina Boxall, Times Staff Writer
Jon keeley is standing on a dirt road in western Riverside County, looking out across the Box Springs Mountains. Instead of a thick coat of native shrubs, the slopes are covered with a shriveled tangle of mustard, wild oats and red brome. Too much fire is the culprit. Since 1957, there have been 33 fires larger than 100 acres in the Box Springs -- more than the area's native coastal sage and chaparral could withstand.
June 4, 2008 | Andrew Blankstein, Times Staff Writer
With highly flammable heavy timber and plastics, close quarters, constant construction and use of open flames and pyrotechnics, movie studios have long been considered especially vulnerable for the types of fires that swept across the Universal Studios lot. Back in 1952, when an eight-acre chunk of the Warner Bros. back lot erupted in flames, Burt Lancaster, Ray Bolger and other actors were pressed into service to help firefighters battle the blaze.
May 10, 2008 | Michael Rothfeld, Times Staff Writer
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Friday urged California property owners to follow his example and prepare for fire season by bringing in experts to examine their homes, saying he had just learned that his own family was "living in the middle of" a fire hazard.
March 14, 2008 | Tony Barboza, Times Staff Writer
Broken fire alarms at nearly a dozen buildings at Santa Ana College went unrepaired for more than two years because of miscommunication and a can't-someone-else-do-it mentality, and because officials did not declare an emergency to fix the antiquated system, an investigation by a law firm found. "Everybody thought it was someone else's responsibility," said Eddie Hernandez, chancellor of the Rancho Santiago Community College District.
February 17, 2008 | From Times Wires Services
As a warning against overcharging toys with lithium batteries, a government safety agency said there have been dozens of recent reports of remote-controlled helicopters catching fire while being charged. Rechargeable lithium batteries are increasingly used in toys, but overcharging the batteries, which hold a lot of energy in a small package, can result in overheating, fire or an explosion, the Consumer Product Safety Commission said. Citing minor incidents of burns and property damage, the agency said there were 26 reports since November 2007 of remote-controlled helicopters igniting while being charged and one report of a toy helicopter igniting during flight.
January 26, 2008 | Hector Becerra, Times Staff Writer
Three months after massive brush fires burned hundreds of homes across Southern California, a blue-ribbon task force on Friday made dozens of recommendations aimed at improving the response to large-scale blazes. But many of the proposed measures are similar to those made after the devastating wildfires of 2003 -- and many of those were never implemented because there was no money available.
January 15, 2008 | Dan Weikel, Times Staff Writer
Federal officials Monday disclosed a variety of lapses at the San Onofre nuclear power plant near San Clemente, including a worker who falsified records for more than five years to show that operators made hourly fire patrols when they had not. As a result, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission ordered Southern California Edison to develop a training program for employees, including ethics courses for managers and contractors as well as classes for plant staff to prevent deliberate misconduct.
December 24, 2007 | Karen Kaplan, Times Staff Writer
Strong north to northeast winds in Los Angeles and Ventura counties prompted a fire warning Sunday from the National Weather Service. The fire weather watch will remain in effect through Tuesday and possibly beyond, said Bill Hoffer, a spokesman for the National Weather Service in Oxnard. Offshore gusts are expected to increase tonight through Christmas morning, and Santa Ana winds may develop, the weather service said.
December 23, 2007 | Joe Mozingo, Ted Rohrlich and Rong-Gong Lin II, Times Staff Writers
Before dawn on Oct. 22, the Witch fire stormed through the chaparral-covered hills of north San Diego County toward Ron and Carol Bedell's home. As they fled through smoke and ash to escape the flames, the couple from Poway were optimistic that their new multimillion-dollar home would survive. It had been built to the highest fire standards, with a slate roof and tempered windows. And the Bedells were careful to keep brush cleared to 150 feet. About 5 a.m.
December 21, 2007 | Molly Hennessy-Fiske
A five-month ban on campfires was lifted Thursday because of recent rains and cooler temperatures, forestry officials said. In addition, the U.S. Forest Service lowered the fire danger level from "extreme" to "high," spokeswoman Stephanie Vela said. Charcoal barbecues and smoking will remain restricted to fire rings and grills in park recreation sites, Vela said. -- Molly Hennessy-Fiske
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