Big Grass Crop Puts North Bay in Fire Danger

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The National Interagency Fire Center is out with its forecast for the upcoming fire season, and the outlook for the North Bay is a bit ominous.

Despite a cool and rainy May that delayed the fire season throughout the West, the Center is forecasting a greater than normal fire danger across much of Northern California throughout the summer, including all of the counties of the North Bay.

 

The forecast takes into account predictions for temperatures and also fuel load.  Because of the wet winter all across our region, a big crop of grasses got an early start and is adding to the fire risk.

These so called “fine fuels” are the first to dry out in the spring and summer, and are like kindling for unintentional fire starts.

The Fire Center keeps us in the above normal risk category throughout the summer.

A bit of good news however is that due to a much larger than average snowpack, the risk of wildland fires is less than normal for most of the summer in the Sierra and the Cascades of Northern California.

Still, by August when most of the snow has melted, that changes, and the mountains of California along with the rest of the state are considered to have a greater than normal risk of wildfires.

Of course, all of this is just a prediction.  If the weather is cooler or wetter than normal the risk decreases.  And a forecast does not guarantee an active fire season, but rather gives fire agencies a first look at what the coming season could bring.

 

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