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Every 20 Years: Wildland Fires in San Bernardino County

Approximately every 20 years, a large campaign fire takes place in the San Bernardino County mountains.

This short documentary examines the recurring pattern of wildfires in the San Bernardino Mountains. The film explores the events surrounding the 2003 Grand Prix Fire and its merger with the Old Fire, resulting in widespread destruction, as well as the 1980 Panorama Fire. It underscores the importance of preparedness and defensible space in mitigating wildfire risks for residents in this disaster-prone region.

This documentary provides a look at the cyclical nature of wildfires in San Bernardino County, emphasizing the need for ongoing vigilance and community resilience in the face of this natural phenomenon.

Wildfire Prevention

San Bernardino County is one of the most beautiful places to live, but for those living in what are called “urban interface areas,” it does not come without risks. Fire is, and always has been, a natural part of this landscape. Wildfires are now a year-round reality in San Bernardino County. This means that both firefighters and residents have to be on heightened alert for the threat of wildfire.

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 you to take personal responsibility for protecting yourself, your family, and your property.

We have published this Ready, Set, Go! Personal Wildfire Action Plan to give you the tips and tools to successfully prepare for a wildfire. It will give you guidance on retrofitting your home with fire-resistive features. It will help you create the necessary defensible space around your home. This publication will help you prepare your home, yourself, and your family so that you can leave early, well ahead of a fast-approaching wildfire.

It’s not a question of if, but when, the next wildfire will occur. With advance planning and preparation, you can dramatically increase your safety and the survivability of your property.

Schedule an appointment

Phone : 909-386-8400
Email : countyfirerap@sbcfire.org

Red Flag Warning

During a Red Flag Warning, San Bernardino County Fire stations will fly a Red Flag below the American Flag.

The National Weather Service issues Red Flag Warnings & Fire Weather Watches to alert fire departments of the onset, or possible onset, of critical weather and dry conditions that could lead to rapid or dramatic increases in wildfire activity. 

A Red Flag Warning is issued for weather events which may result in extreme fire behavior that will occur within 24 hours. A Fire Weather Watch is issued when weather conditions could exist in the next 12-72 hours. A Red Flag Warning is the highest alert. During these times extreme caution is urged by all residents, because a simple spark can cause a major wildfire. A Fire Weather Watch is one level below a warning, but fire danger is still high. 

The type of weather patterns that can cause a watch or warning include low relative humidity, strong winds, dry fuels, the possibility of dry lightning strikes, or any combination of the above.

Residential Assessment Program (RAP)

In an effort to increase public knowledge regarding wildland urban interface fire safety and preparedness, the San Bernardino County Fire Department is conducting engine company based property and structural assessments in those areas identified with an increased risk for wildfire. This public outreach program is called the “Residential Assessment Program”(RAP). It is the goal of the RAP to provide citizens of San Bernardino County residing in the wildland urban interface areas with the most current information and the best methods available in an effort to protect homes and property from destructive wildfires.


Residential Assessment Program

The pamphlet is part of a public outreach program to assist the residents of San Bernardino County in the wildland urban interface areas to create fire safe and defensible homes.

You can contact your local fire station to make an appointment to do a free assessment of your home and property. Your local fire station will offer you suggestions and guidelines that you the resident can make. If you do not want a physical assessment, your local fire station can review the assessment pamphlet with you over the phone.

This is an educational program only. There will be no charge or fees, and no punitive action taken by the local fire station toward the resident.

San Bernardino County Fire is your local fire department, and will likely be the first to arrive in an emergency. We are not conducting inspections; we are conducting assessments at the owners request and making suggestions only. Our goal is to raise the level of preparation by residents.

To make an appointment, please call the Office of the Fire Marshal at (909) 386-8400 or email countyfirerap@sbcfire.org and provide your name, address, phone number, and the best time you can be reached. You may also visit your nearest fire station. To locate your closest fire station, visit http://sbcfire.org/firestations/.

Video Gallery

READY! SET! GO! Personal Wildfire Action Program
Red Flag Community Notification
Ready SB County App
How to Make Your Home Wildfire Ready
When to Go! Evacuations with Deputy Adam Cervantes
Wildland Firefighting: We're Proud To Serve You!
Do you have proper defensible space?