The second-annual Firefighter’s Muster, presented by the Mountain Communities Fire Safe Council, is a larger event this year, with more participants, events and information than last year. It takes place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday, April 28 at the Idyllwild Community Center property on Highway 243.

Billed as a “Day of Awareness,” the event is an opportunity to honor area firefighters and organizations that foster fire-safe awareness. The event also provides residents information about threats posed by the upcoming fire season and what preventive measures they can take to protect their homes and property in advance of annual fire inspections that begin in May.

Former County Division Chief Kevin Turner will also be in attendance to discuss the goldspotted oak borer threat to mountain oaks. GSOB is currently limited to San Diego County where oak death in certain affected areas has reached 100 percent. Were it to migrate to Riverside County, the consequences to mountain oaks would be devastating and costly. GSOB is thought to migrate from area to area in affected firewood.

FSC President Mike Esnard wants the community to know that the event will be kid-friendly, with fire engines both new and antique that can be climbed on and into and gear and games that will educate and involve children. A reliable source said that Smokey the Bear himself would also be in attendance at the Muster. One of the popular events for children will be the opportunity, under supervision, to saw a round of wood and brand it with an image of Smokey the Bear. Other games will instruct children how to aim a fire hose to move a ball along a wire strung high above their heads using the flow of water from the hose.

Participating organizations this year include Idyllwild Fire, CAL FIRE, California State Parks, the U.S. Forest Service including several of their K-9 units featuring dog handling demonstrations, Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, Mountain Community Patrol, FSC, the Idyllwild Rotary Club and a number of vendors who will have information about how to ‘harden” or protect a dwelling from wildfire.

“We want this to be a chance for residents to learn how to protect their homes and also have a good time at the event,” said FSC Executive Director Edwina Scott.