Bay Area firefighters prepare for early wildfire season amid approaching heat wave

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Bay Area weather is forecasted to make a major change next week moving from rain to hot temperatures which could increase fire danger even though it's only March.

Rain made a cameo appearance in the Bay Area on the last day of Winter, giving wipers a workout in San Rafael. Umbrellas were up in North Beach and on the Embarcadero. The much needed rain is a welcome sight during our ongoing drought. Jessica Diaz France and her son Adrian will take it.

"We have lots of plants that want water so we have a veggie garden, it really helps us when it rains," said Diaz-France.

But our cool, wet weather will be gone before you can say, heat wave.

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Temperatures are expected to spike next week, prompting a big concern for firefighters.

"We understand the weather is going to help dry fuels out, we're already seeing early drying of grasses and light fuels," said Marin County Fire battalion chief Graham Groneman.

Chief Groneman says hillside grasses are dying out by the day, they haven't seen considerable rain since the start of the year.

Marin County is preparing for wildfires through an ambitious project now underway, creating fuel break buffers across 38 miles of fire roads near Mt. Tamalpais.

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"When we have our inevitable wildfire in Marin, we will give our firefighters the greatest chance to be successful in its suppression," said Chief Groneman.

The Marin Wildfire Protection Authority is funding the Ross Valley Shaded Fuel Break Project.

Groneman believes climate change is moving the timeline on wildfire season.

"The climate that's been affecting us for the past five to 10 years has shown us this pattern of earlier starts and later fire seasons," he said.

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