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Orange County unveils ambitious brush-fire warning system, a year after devastating blaze

November 12, 2009 |  7:39 am


Residents evacuate Yorba Linda fire area

Orange County today will unveil an ambitious fire warning system designed to better alert residents to the danger of brush fires.

The new program, called OC Fire Watch, comes a year after the massive Freeway Complex fire swept through Yorba Linda and Anaheim Hills, damaging or destroying more than 300 homes. At the time, fire officials said they wanted to work on ways to better alert residents to fast-moving brush fires.

As part of the program, government agencies around the county will raise red flags outside government buildings, parks and fire stations when the National Weather Service issues "red flag" fire warnings.

Additional, the county will create a volunteer program to help with fire warnings. Officials will train volunteers on communications procedures, map reading and how to report dangerous fire situations, according to the Orange County Fire Authority.

“The memories of last year’s Freeway Complex fire and the Santiago fire two years ago still linger as  painful reminders of the devastation wildfires can inflict on our wilderness areas and nearby residential  communities,” Board of Supervisor Chair Patricia Bates said in a statement.

-- Shelby Grad

Photo: Aftermath of Freeway Complex fire in Yorba Linda. Credit: Al Schaben / Los Angeles Times

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