California fire officials are already preparing for a hot fire season despite the ample rain and snow the regions received. FM89’s Ezra David Romero reports.
Jeremiah Wittwer with Fresno County Cal Fire says there’s a lot of extra grass and brush growing in the region because of the rain. He says come summer when the vegetation dries out there’ll be a major fire hazard.
“In the lower foothills and even down on the valley floor grass is already is a foot to a foot and a half tall and we’re not even getting into the spring months yet," says Wittwer. "So the fuels are more readily available to burn.”
Wittwer says he has 40 people working daily to remove dead trees along roads and highways, but there will still be tree and brush die off because of years of drought and the bark beetle.
“Even though that we had the moisture that we had over the winter, above normal, it’s not going to bring that vegetation back to a healthy level around the county," says Wittwer. "There will be some increased fire behavior.”
In preparation for summer, Wittwer says homeowners should clear about 100 feet of vegetation and dead trees from around buildings on their property.