'We'll be off to the races,' CAL FIRE preps for potentially hect - KSBY.com | San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Area News

'We'll be off to the races,' CAL FIRE preps for potentially hectic fire season after rain

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The season's rainfall is both good and bad for CAL FIRE crews preparing for fire season. 

Fire managers say the recent rain has created the largest crop of grass the county has seen in five years, some of which isn't dry enough to burn yet. Once it is dry, they say, look out.

"Fire season is always a huge concern for students like me whose families live around here or in other areas of California where wildfires are prone," said Erica Solum, who lives near Cal Poly.

Her family has been evacuated during a wildfire before.

"Hoping that doesn't happen again," Solum said.

Fire managers measure the moisture in brush and grass every month and say this year's fire season could start as soon as this weekend.

"The grass that's already cured or that's already died, this weekend with the temperatures that we're expecting in the high 80s, most likely that grass will be ready to burn," said CAL FIRE Unit Chief Scott Jalbert.

There's good news and bad news. The good news is the recent rain may postpone fires in some areas where the grass has enough moisture. The bad news comes once that grass dries out. 

"We have grass crop we haven't seen in over five years here in the Central Coast and grass is what carries our fires," Chief Jalbert says.

Crews are now upping their training and cutting down some of that grass. 

"Probably in the next couple of weeks, we'll be off to the races," Jalbert says.

Fire managers want to remind homeowners to clear brush and grass from around their homes by at least 100 feet.

CAL FIRE has also launched a new "Ready for Wildfire" app. It provides a step-by-step checklist for homeowners to keep their homes fire-resistant. It also notifies users when a wildfire is reported within 30 miles of the device.

You can find the app by searching "CAL FIRE" in the App or Google Play Store.

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