Warm weekend temperatures will increase fire danger

SACRAMENTO – Each time rains comes to the region, it puts a slight dent in the dry conditions. Plants and grasses soak up the moisture. However, strong winds events will dry the vegetation again.

With temperatures running almost 15 degrees warmer than average for the upcoming weekend, fire officials are concerned about the continuing high fire danger.

Cal Fire spokesman Daniel Berlant said, "We don't have any heightened alerts for this weekend like advisories or watches, but we want everyone to be aware of their behavior as far as maintaining defensible space and using caution with open flames."

Inspectors are going door-to-door to check homes for defensible space. It's to make sure homeowners have a clearing of 100 feet around their homes. Inspectors remind homeowners to clear the space during the morning when humidity levels are the highest.

Cal Fire increased manpower by 125 seasonal fire fighters in January because of the summer-like conditions and the increase in fires so far this year. As of March 8, there have been 665 wildfires in the state. Last year at this time, there were 225.

"Last year we hit a record number of wildfires. But this time last year, the numbers were around normal," Berlant said.

The Climate Prediction Center is forecasting below-average rainfall through April. It is not welcomed news.

"It's disconcerting. We are already drying out and it's getting hotter, "Berlant said. " We potentially will have a busy and extremely dangerous summer."


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