Fire officials say we’re in for a bad fire season this year

Posted at 3:33 PM, May 08, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-08 18:33:22-04

It’s Wildfire Awareness Week. With it comes the kickoff to this year’s fire season and firefighters are worried.

Everything looks green outside right now, but fire crews say, don’t let that deceive you. There’s a lot of fuel to burn and so far this year, there have already been hundreds of fires across California.

Last year’s fire season was a bad one, with historic levels of death and destruction. The Thomas Fire, which burned in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties in December, was the largest fire ever recorded in California history.

This year’s fire season is already off to a bad start, firefighters say. There have been 974 reported fires throughout the state since the start of the year. That’s a big increase from the 560 fires over the same time last year.

“There is still a lot of dead vegetation out there. The grass, even though we have these nice annual grasses popping up right now, there is still a lot of dead understory underneath that grass that is totally susceptible to fire and burning very well already,” said Chris Elms, CAL FIRE Public Information Officer.

CAL FIRE is working on fuel reduction projects for the next couple of months but asks people in the community to also do their part.

“Get that 100-foot perimeter around your house. If you are towing a trailer, double check and triple check that those chains are hooked up and properly mounted and not dragging as you go down the road,” Elms added.

Elms explains that the grass may look green and harmless now but in no time, all of that will dry out.

CAL FIRE San Luis Obispo is getting an additional two engines in the coming weeks. Air tankers, dozers and crews are on standby for the rest of the fire season.

Fire departments also ask all families to get an evacuation plan ready in case of a home or wildland fire.