Bay Area's 1st rain of season may help reduce wildfire risk but firefighters remain cautious

ByCornell Barnard KGO logo
Tuesday, September 26, 2023
Bay Area's 1st rain of season may reduce wildfire risk: officials
The Bay Area's first rain of the season may help reduce the wildfire risk but firefighters say fire season is far from over.

WINDSOR, Calif. (KGO) -- The first raindrops of the season will be a welcome sight to firefighters in the North Bay, they say it could help to reduce the wildfire threat, but fire season is far from over. We're also getting a better idea of what an El Niño weather pattern could bring to us this winter.

Storm clouds started to move into Windsor on Monday and the winds picked up too. It looked like rain was coming back to Sonoma County after a long summer break.

TIMELINE: Northern CA storm to bring light rain to North Bay

"Yeah, I'm really excited about it, I've got everything covered it'll be nice to get a little reprieve from fire season," said Guerneville resident Vanessa Mitchell.

The approaching rain, remnants of an atmospheric river up north that's helping firefighters quell wildfires that have been burning near the California-Oregon border.

"We really look at it as a great opportunity to get moisture into the vegetation and start that fall progression towards winter," said CAL FIRE Unit Chief Mike Marcucci.

"I would say rain is always a welcome arrival for us here in Sonoma County," said Sonoma County Fire District Division Chief Cyndi Foreman.

MORE: California experiences slowest start to fire season in decades

Chief Foreman says a bit of rain may help reduce wildfire risk but the danger isn't over yet.

"I think the message we want to send to folks is don't let your guard down, the rain we're going to get may not make a big difference, when we get further into October, it just takes a couple of warm days, all the fields will dry right back out," Foreman said.

"It is encouraging that storm door is already opening," said ABC7 News Meteorologist Drew Tuma.

Tuma believes this year's predicted El Niño could bring above-average rainfall for the Bay Area. But he says no two El Niño's are alike.

MORE: El Niño has officially started: Here's what it means for Bay Area weather

"Just because we may have a quiet October or November we could see significant storms come January or February," said Tuma.

That's promising news for those who fight fires year-round in Northern California.

"We're hoping for early rains this year, looks like it may be a promising winter for us, precipitation-wise," said Foreman.

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