Fire Conditions in 2015 Are Worst on Record

Published on June 22nd, 2015

A Cal Fire firefighter uses a drip torch to light dry grass on fire during a live fire training on June 3, 2015 in Mt. Hamilton, California. Cal Fire firefighters are training ahead of what is expected to be an explosive wildfire season as California pushes through its fourth year of severe drought. The state has been hit with more than 1,000 wildfires since the beginning of the year.

Samantha Tatro
June 22, 2015
NBC San Diego

Four years of drought and a lack of recent rain have created the worst fire conditions on record in California, Cal Fire said.

“We have seen, we saw it last year and we will see it again this year, we'll be reaching records for potential heat output for times of the year that would normally not be burning in those conditions,” said Ken Pimlott, director of Cal Fire, at Wildfire Awareness Week in Pollock Pines.

The timing of rain as California heads into its fourth year of drought have created escalated fire conditions.

Throughout the state, firefighters with Cal Fire have responded to 1,100 fires so far, it said in a blog post. Generally, by June, the department has responded to fewer than 650.

Cal Fire measures the fuel moisture content in vegetation such as brush and trees throughout the state and compare it month-by-month and year-by-year, they said

They take those numbers and then calculate how much heat the vegetation would put out when burning, Pimlott said.

One thing residents can do, Cal Fire said in the post, is to remove parts of their lawn as they dry up.

"We don't want your dry lawn and your dry brush to contribute to more of the fire hazard,” Pimlott said. “So, stop watering your lawn and remove it."

As water becomes scarcer in the state, fire officials said, they asked residents to conserve.

Shawna Legarza, Director of Fire and Aviation with the U.S. Forest Service, said in the post said some departments have been able to use recycled water in training exercises.


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