California Preparing for Another Significant Wildfire Season

After an extremely dry winter, which left water levels low and vegetation dried out, much of the State of California is already in wildfire season.

Fire experts says that with increasing winds and hot temperatures forecasted to start this week, and no rain or snow expected in the near term, wildfire conditions are not likely to get any better.

According to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, between January 1 and April 1, 2022, firefighters have responded to and battled 925 fires statewide—on par with the same time period in 2021. However, the total acreage destroyed this year is almost double what burned during the same period in 2021.

Cheryl Buliavac, fire prevention specialist at Cal Fire’s Shasta-Trinity Unit said, “Most of the state is already in moderate to extreme drought.”

This year’s fire season could be worse than last year’s, Buliavac continued. “Vegetation is as dry now as it would be in a normal year in mid-June.” That’s in part because precipitation forecasted over winter didn’t arrive or dropped less rain than expected.

Extreme windy conditions this winter further dried out thirsty trees and brush, Buliavac said. “It’s very concerning because we were under similar conditions the last few summers.”

Statewide in 2021, firefighters battled 8,835 fires that destroyed 2,568,948 acres. Nine of the 10 largest fires were in Northern California, including the 963,309-acre Dixie Fire which burned in five counties, the 223,124-acre Monument Fire in Trinity County, and the 221,835-acre Caldor Fire east of Sacramento to Lake Tahoe.

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California bracing for what could be another bad fire season. What to expect as weather warms up