Kern Valley Hot Shots setting back-fires
The mission of the fire program in the Bakersfield Field Office is to provide safe, efficient and effective service to the public in the protection of life, property and natural resources from wildland fire. Our staff has fire management responsibilities of 612,000 acres located in 8 counties: including Kern, Tulare, Fresno, Kings, Madera, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura. We respond to wildland fires on public, federal and private lands as a result of cooperative and mutual aid agreements with the Kern County Fire Department, Santa Barbara County Fire Department, and California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE). BLM firefighters, staff and equipment are dispatched throughout the nation, wherever and whenever assistance is needed whether its fires, floods, tornados, etc. We are an agency always available to respond and provide a service for the people.
There are 4 fire stations located within this office: Chimney Peak- located on the Kern Plateau, South Fork- located in Onyx, CA, Metro- located in Bakersfield at the field office and Midway-located in Taft, CA. There are 3 - Type III Engines, 4 – Type VI Engines, 2 – Type II Water Tenders, 1 – Type II Dozer and 1 – IHC (Kern Valley Hotshots).
Our fire management staff implements prescribed fire and mechanical methods to treat vegetation in and around the wildland urban interface (WUI) areas to reduce hazardous fuels. Uncontrolled fires can be destructive; however some natural wildland fires are a fundamental part of the natural ecosystem. Without fire, the health of some vegetative types would be jeopardized. For this reason, occasional prescribed fires are carefully planned and conducted by BLM specialist to benefit specific areas. Prescribed fires can improve habitat for wildlife and domestic livestock, help trees and vegetation regenerate, and prevent the accumulation of excess vegetation.
The Mitigation/ Education program is responsible for working with the public and communities with various outreach programs teaching the public how to protect themselves from wildland fires, educating them on wildland fire hazards and providing technical support to fire safe councils. We have an active program. We work cooperatively with the Kern County Fire Dept. and Sequoia National Forest in various endeavors to educate the public on all aspects of fire safety.