SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — It has been 31 years since the deadly Oakland Hills Fire Storm killed 25 people and destroyed thousands of homes.
There have not been any reports of major wildfires in the Bay Area in the last few months. Both weather and preventative measures taken by the public have played a role.
“They are heading the warnings. They are taking the measures that we are asking them to take and those efforts as well as the weather are both working out and cooperating,” said Chief Fire Marshal Santa Rosa Fire PIO Paul Lowenthal.
Statewide, Cal Fire trains and works to make sure wildfires do not get out of hand. They learn from the past so that 95% of today’s fires are contained to 10 acres or less.
“We’ve been pretty aggressive on our response to mitigate the fires quickly and effectively,” said Chelsea Burkett, Cal Fire Santa Clara Unit. When it comes to weather conditions, KRON4 Meteorologist Kyla Grogan said we’re still in a drought, but that rain in September and a lack of offshore winds have helped.
“If we get wind at the wrong time and that sets something off and we’re really far away from the time of year when we finally start to relax because we know that we’re going to start getting these storms that roll from the northwest and kind of bring us a little bit of rain, that’s when we get in trouble,” said Grogan.
A slow wildfire season is a good thing, but Lowenthal said there is an important balance with rainfall and its ability to lessen drought conditions. “Yes, it absolutely promotes growth and leads to more fuels in the future,” said Lowenthal.
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He said that many parts of the Bay Area are still covered in burn scars. He worries that too much rain during the colder months will result in the same flooding and mudslides Santa Rosa saw last year after the Glass Fire.
“So, there’s a fine line in beneficial rain versus rain that can cause problems,” said Lowenthal. Cal Fire set up a website with helpful tips to create a defensible space at your home in case a wildfire does occur.