SANTA CLARA COUNTY, Calif. (KRON) — Over the last several weeks, the Bay Area has experienced warmer weather, increasing the risk of wildfires sparking up.
Fire officials are now advising people to take the time to prepare for another scorching summer.
“Right now with the low humidities, high winds, and high temperatures we’re starting to see an uptick in fires especially in the grass and even the brush,” says Assistant Chief Nick Ciardella, Cal Fire Santa Clara Unit.
“A little early for this time of year, we normally start to see the fuel moistures about mid-summer that we are experiencing right now.”
Early Start To Fire Season
Last summer, the state experienced its worst fire season ever recorded with more than 4.2 million acres burned.
Now with a little over a week into May, many parts of the Bay Area have already seen a Red Flag Warning where fire danger is greater.
“The last couple of weeks we’ve experienced Red Flag conditions in Northern California, especially with this last weekend and into Wednesday,” says Ciardella.
“We’re also going to experience the continued low humidity, high winds, and high temperatures.”
Firefighters across the Bay Area are now bracing themselves for what could be another busy fire season.
Ciardella tells KRON4 News Cal Fire has brought on additional firefighters and crews to respond to the recent uptick in fires.
“We have two National Guard crews that are based out of the armory in San Jose and we’re training another fire crew that will be based out of the Pacheco Fire Station up near Casa de Fruta,” says Ciardella.
“This will help our fire engine crews on incidents to try and contain incidents quicker with additional people helping.”
Maintaining Defensible Space
Cal Fire is asking residents to maintain defensible space, a buffer between a building on your property and the grass, trees, shrubs, or any wildland area that surround it.
Maintaining defensible space is needed to slow or stop the spread of wildfires, ultimately protecting your home from catching on fire.
“We’re asking them to clear down 30 feet around their homes and an additional 70 feet beyond that in a field reduction zone,” says Ciardella.
“And we ask folks to do this when the weather permits, so right now we are asking folks if it is over 80 degrees or less than 30% humidity, they don’t do those actions.”
Using The Right Equipment
Cal Fire is advising people to use the proper equipment when clearing out dry shrub, using the improper equipment can accidentally spark a flame.
“A lot of folks go out there and cut dry grass with a mower, well the metal blade can actually strike a rock and start a fire,” says Ciardella.
“So we ask folks if they go out there to make sure they’re using string equipment like a weed eater for that kind of work.”
Sign Up For Alerts In Your Area
For Santa Clara County residents, they recommend you sign up for the county’s “AlertSCC” to receive instant evacuation orders from local authorities in case of an emergency sent directly to your cell phone, landline, or email.
Click here to sign up.
Make Sure To Follow Your Local Fire Departments Social Media Accounts
In addition to signing up to receive emergency notifications from your local government, you can follow Cal Fire or one of the other Cal Fire social media accounts on Twitter and Facebook that corresponds to where you live.
In response to the increase in fire activity throughout the state over the last several years, Cal Fire will be evacuating more people more often.
Ciardella tells KRON4 News people to be prepared and to make sure they have a to-go bag and anything else they would need in case they would be asked to evacute.
“Because of this large fire growth that we’ve seen and how rapid these fires are expanding just from initial incidents and they’re going very very quickly, says Ciardella.
“So we ask folks to be prepared.”