California’s wildfire season normally peaks between July and October, but warmer and drier conditions have raised risks already.
More than half a dozen blazes broke out across the Golden State over 48 hours last week, according to news reports.
Last Thursday, a blaze erupted in Kern County and grew to 500 acres, about three times the size of Disneyland. In the Tahoe National Forest a fire forced the closure of a nearby highway. And a brush fire north of Vacaville prompted evacuation orders in Solano County.
Already this month, a blaze erupted in Laguna Niguel, destroying 20 homes. That surprised fire officials because humid coastal conditions typically don’t allow fires to quickly break out.
Weather officials are warning that more dangerous fires could ignite before the start of summer.
California’s summer to fall wildfire season is turning into a year-round struggle. Shorter wet seasons combined with warmer temperatures leave land primed for fires earlier and earlier on the calendar.
The Golden State saw record rainfall in the final quarter of 2021. But what followed was an abnormally dry January through March, according to The New York Times.
Those heavy rains wiped out drought conditions across the state. But nearly 60 percent of California is again experiencing extreme drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor map released on May 19.
Forecasters expect a warmer than average summer, which could mean bad news for fires. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said that above-normal temperatures are likely across the contiguous U.S. in June, July, and August.
Similar hot conditions have set the stage for four out of the five largest fires in California in just the past two years, according to CalFire’s data.
Check out these resources on how to help prepare for a potential wildfire: