With summer expected to be a hotter-than-normal, California officials are warning that wildfire season is just beginning.
Significant rainfall during the winter and spring months brought an increase in grasses, and as those dry out the lower elevations will become vulnerable to wildfires.
Similar to 2018, experts say the most significant fire potential will occur from October through December when burn areas of more than 5,000 acres, or nearly 8 square miles, could break out.
“As the summer progresses into the fall months, the potential for devastating fire increases until we get rainfall,” Los Angeles County Fire Chief Daryl Osby said during a news conference.
Cal Fire conducted a risk assessment after last year’s Camp Fire that found an estimated 11 million residents — or 1 in 4 Californians — live in areas considered to be at high risk of a wildfire.
Some former fire officials along with environmental advocates believe the state’s wildfire strategy should start from the home, instead of relying on altering forestland.
That means encouraging homeowners to clear brush within at least a 100-foot radius of residences and doing yard work in the early morning before temperatures get warm and dry.
Residents are encouraged to use the Cal Fire’s “Ready Set, Go” program to assess their fire readiness.