H-SANTA BARBARA COUNTY

Sep 20, 2013 1:53 AM by Victoria Johnson

Central Coast fire season

Fire crews are fully staffed during this dry year we've had. Their quick response time has helped keep damage done by fires to a minimum. Mother Nature has called the shots this fire season, holding back on dangerous conditions.

"It takes wind, with a combination of the high temperatures and low humidity. We haven't had that yet this year. What helped us a lot this year is the weather," said David Sadecki, Captain, Santa Barbara County Fire Department.

The conditions have led to fewer fires and have helped firefighters quickly put out the ones that get started. That's fortunate because it has never been this dry.

"It is historic. It is the worst ever if you look at rainfall between January and September," said Dave Hovde, KSBY Meteorologist.

The lack of rainfall the past two years can be seen across ours hills and valleys, leaving dry brush that can fuel fires. This year, we've had less than 10 inches of rain.

"7-10 inches short is bad enough just for one year. But, when you look at 7-10 inches short, coming off a year we saw only 60% the prior year, that's why the reservoir levels are running low," said Hovde.

Boats and docks sitting in dry reservoirs tell the story.

"If you look at the reservoirs, they are very low. We are seeing percentages at Lake Nacimiento down to 32%," said Hovde.

That puts a lot a pressure on the upcoming rain season. We need all the rain we can get.

"We still have a ways to go. It's only the middle of September, so we have October and November to go. So far, we've been lucky," said Sadecki.

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