National Drought Mitigation Center

National Drought Mitigation Center
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Harsh start to California fire season
9/8/2018 12:00:00 AM

Plants & Wildlife

Start Date: 1/1/2018 - End Date: 9/8/2018
More than 1.2 million acres in California burned since the start of the year through Sept. 8. Los Angeles Times (Calif.), Sept. 8, 2018 The wildfire season in California was having its worst start in a decade, as 196,092 acres burned statewide from the beginning of the year through the morning of July 9. One of the reasons for the intense start was the recent 5-year stretch of drought that killed millions of trees, shrubs and bushes that remain standing and ready to burn. “We are going to be dealing with the impacts of that drought for many years,” according to Scott McLean, deputy chief of CalFire, the state’s firefighting agency. In addition, the dry winter of 2017-18 left vegetation exceedingly dry. Then late rains in May allowed grasses to flourish, increasing the amount of grass in many areas by 50 percent, creating more fuel to burn once the grass dried. Napa Valley Register (Calif.), July 10, 2018