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California's Fire Season in Full Swing Despite Late Start

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(Sacramento, CA)
Friday, July 30, 2010
Wildfires are finally starting to pop up throughout California after a slow start to this year’s fire season. Nearly 200 blazes caused by lightning strikes are peppering the northeastern parts of the state. And in the south, two large fires in Kern County have prompted Governor Schwarzenegger to declare a state of emergency.

But what about the Sacramento region? CalFire’s Daniel Berlant says the late spring rains bring good news and bad news for the 2010 fire season. The good news?
Berlant: “As far as fire activity goes this year, especially compared to the last three years, we’re probably a month behind where we were in the past.”
The Sacramento Valley’s grass and brush have dried out – which is why the valley floor has already seen a few grass fires. But the ground is still moist at the higher elevations, helping the foothills largely avoid blazes so far. The bad news?
Berlant: “That increased amount of precipitation meant a lot more grass and a lot more brush for us. And as we now start to get into summertime, August, September, all that grass, all that brush is now starting to dry out.  And that all creates fuel for a wildfire.”
The moral of the story, says Berlant:
Berlant: “Don’t become complacent just because we received more rain this year. There is gonna be fires, and there’s still that fire danger.
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