NEWBURY PARK ( — Fire agencies around the Southland urged residents to be prepared for the possibility of wildfires.

At a news conference Wednesday, the Ventura County Fire Department showed homeowners how to clear 100 feet of defensible space around their property.

They also showcased how Thermo-Gel can prevent a structure from burning.

One year ago, the Springs fire burned 38 square miles near Camarillo and Newbury Park and threatened more than 4,000 homes.

“It was definitely frightening,” Mike Mazza, a Newbury Park resident, said. “We saw the hill next to our house and behind our house was completely engulfed. It jumped over just like that.”

Mazza said the Homeowner’s Association spent $50,000 to make sure the 100 feet of defensible space was cleared throughout the entire Dos Vientos community.

“No homes were destroyed that day because there’s 100 feet of defensible space between us and the next high brush,” Mazza said. “That’s because we partnered with the Ventura County Fire Department.”

“There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that the combination of the defensible space and aggressive firefighting prevented any of those 4,000 structures that were threatened in the Springs fire from being burned,” Capt. Mike Lindbery of the Ventura County Fire Department added.

Also on Wednesday, the Orange County Fire Authority teamed up with several other agencies to remind residents to be aware of a heightened fire danger.

“The reality is that in a major wildfire there simply will not be enough engines or firefighters to defend every home in the early stages of the incident. This reality requires you to take personal responsibly for protecting yourself, your family and your community,” Chief Keith Richter said.


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