CalFire getting ahead of fire season with prescribed burns

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The weather patterns California has been experiencing has changed the notion of fire season. (KGO-TV)

The weather patterns California has been experiencing has changed the notion of fire season. It's all year 'round. The long spell of dry, warm weather in much of the state during January, and continuing this month, has CalFire crews out doing prescribed burns to reduce the fuel for wildland fires.

A team from CalFire Santa Cruz was in a nature preserve, part of the UC Santa Cruz campus, Tuesday morning to do a test burn and then a 16-acre prescribed burn. It's called vegetation management.

Capt. Scott Kenney says CalFire's goal is to do 1,000 acres of prescribed burns in each of its 21 units across the state. Several more controlled burns are planned for wildland areas in the vicinity of state parks, such as Butano.

RELATED: Legislative firefight in wake of North Bay fires

The site targeted Tuesday involved several months of advance planning and coordination with UC Santa Cruz. Beneficiaries include the university, the nature preserve north of the campus, and residents of Santa Cruz.

CAL FIRE: Wildfire season 'elongated by upwards of 40-50 days'

By reducing fire risk with vegetation management, CalFire hopes to reduce the number of significant wildland fires in the months ahead. There is also a resource management component to this in that reducing fire risk will help to keep engines and firefighters available to respond to major fires in other parts of the state.

The National Interagency Fire Center, based in Boise, Idaho, has issued predictive maps for significant wildland fire potential through the spring. For February, the risk is above normal for a major portion of coastal Southern California. The Bay Area and all of Northern California is categorized as normal risk. However, by April and May, the Center's maps show the above normal risk area advances toward the Bay Area.

PREPARE NORCAL: Emergency resources

Even with this focus on vegetation management, CalFire continues to urge homeowners to be pro-active about creating defensible space around homes and adjacent structures.

Click here for more stories related to California wildfires.
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cal firefirewildfirebrush firefire safetyfirefighterssanta cruz countyNorth Bay FiresSanta Cruz
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