The Energy Release Component (ERC) is an NFDRS (National Fire Danger Rating System) index related to how hot a fire could burn. It is directly related to the 24-hour, potential worst case, total available energy (BTUs) per unit area (in square feet) within the flaming front at the head of a fire.
The ERC can serve as a good characterization of fire season as it tracks seasonal fire danger trends well. The ERC is a function of the fuel model and live and dead fuel moistures. Fuel loading, woody fuel moistures, and larger fuel moistures all have an influence on the ERC, while the lighter fuels have less influence and wind speed has none. ERC has low variability, and is the best fire danger component for indicating the effects of intermediate to long-term drying on fire behavior (if it is a significant factor) although it is not intended for use as a drought index.
In addition to creating an evacuation plan, making a safety zone
around your business or residence can help protect people and property.
Within a 30-foot zone of buildings, remove combustible material and
reduce the volume of vegetation to a minimum. In doing so, stay clear of
overhead lines (maintain at least 10-feet clearance) and use 29 CFR 1910.269
qualified line-clearance tree trimmers. Clear branches and shrubs that
are within 15 feet of chimneys or stovepipes and remove vines from the
walls of buildings. Frequently mowing grass and replacing vegetation
with less flammable species can provide better protection against
spreading wildfires. In addition to the 30-foot safety zone, an
additional secondary 70-foot safety zone is recommended – increasing
the distance between a building and vegetation will increase the level
of protection. For more information, the California Department of
Forestry and Fire Protection offers a useful guide for creating safety zones, and the Ready.gov – Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) website has more information as well.
Employers whose workers will be involved in emergency response
operations for releases of, or substantial threats of releases of,
hazardous substances regardless of the location of the hazard must
comply with OSHA’s Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (HAZWOPER) standard, 29 CFR 1910.120. This may include emergency response following an earthquake. Instruction CPL 02-02-073 describes OSHA enforcement procedures under the relevant provisions of the HAZWOPER standard.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has promulgated a
standard applying OSHA’s HAZWOPER standard to state and local government
workers in states where there is no OSHA-approved State Plan. See 40 CFR Part 311.
BEFORE and AFTER clips of fuel reduction on Gerald Wellman’s property that is part of the Eddy Dr. Fuels Reduction Project managed by the Fire Safe Council of Siskiyou County and the Mount Shasta Area Fire Safe Council. Now available at the Fire Safe Council of Siskiyou County Facebook page.Thanks again to all who have helped make this possible including the USDA Forest Service for the grant that funded it. Also, thanks to contractors J. Cota Forestry and Premier Clearing who are doing an extraordinary job!
Giselle Nova Joint Coordinator Fire Safe Council of Siskiyou County (530) 926-2089
Dale and Giselle Nova, 530-926-2089, firstname.lastname@example.org