California experiences slowest start to fire season in decades

ByLena Howland KGO logo
Monday, July 31, 2023
CA experiences slowest start to fire season in decades
Fire experts say we are experiencing the slowest start to fire season in decades in California.

CONTRA COSTA COUNTY, Calif. (KGO) -- Fire experts say we are experiencing the slowest start to fire season in decades in California.

"Now, we've had a slow start because of the precipitation, the fuels, they have that moisture content so we're not responding to those readily available or receptive fuel beds, fires that we would typically have," Capt. Chris Bruno, a spokesperson for CAL FIRE said.

All that heavy moisture the Bay Area got between January and March took us out of the drought.

But Capt. Bruno says it created an abundance of fuel and that fuel, like the tall brush lining the freeways, is just now starting to dry out.

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"We still have the normal dry-out of vegetation that's taking place this time of the year but now, it's taking place on these larger potential incident fuel beds with the tall grass that you'll see," he said.

In Contra Costa County, fire officials say they usually start to see fires pop up in May, with June historically being their biggest month for fires.

"We have not seen any Red Flag fire days so far this year," Aaron McAlister, Deputy Fire Chief of the Contra Costa County Fire Department said. "We have not had any Type 3 Incident Management deployments within our county of our East Bay Incident Management Team and we've also not sent resources out of county for wildland fires."

But June has come and gone, with August upon us this week, McAlister says their biggest fire of the summer so far was only eight acres.

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That fire burned in the hills just outside of Martinez over the weekend and officials believe it was caused by a lawnmower.

Still, he says with triple-digit conditions on the way and no moisture in sight, what happened over the weekend, will likely continue until this area gets more rain.

"This is our peak season and from this point forward, until it rains, we've reached the critical fire season," McAlister said.

Fire officials are also urging homeowners to only mow their lawns before noon, when the temperatures are lower and the moisture levels are higher.

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