As summer marches on, California wildfire season approaches in full force. With drought conditions worsening, here is what to expect.
The west coast is entering fire season and the hottest months of the year are almost here. California wildfire season will depend on several factors however, but it does not look good.
California wildfire season 2021
Drought conditions continue to get worse which escalates potential fires significantly. Dry conditions are at a much higher elevation than previous years. Additionally, the Sierra Nevada is currently in the driest years on record.
Wildfire Season Factors
The severity of this wildfire season depends on numerous factors.
- Where ignition occurs
- Duration of heat waves
- Human behaviour
- Humidity levels
- Wind and air pressure
Fire Scientist from the University of California at Merced, Crystal Kolden says “July is our peak month for lighting ignitions.”
“There is a greater potential for lighting fire in the high country this year and greater potential for it to spread.”
Western Wildfire History
Since the 1980s, forest fires have moved to higher altitudes as temperatures continue to rise. Just last august, a lighting strike started a fire that destroyed almost 175,000 acres of the Sequoia National Park.
California Wildfire season 2021 – what to expect
As the drought continues to worsen, we can expect larger and more destructive fires for months.
Southern California is in a less serious drought than the Pacific Northwest. However, it can still assumed that big and devastating fires will occur.
So far, fires have burned through approximately 14,000 acres in California which is 5 times more than last year at the same time.
What Can You Do to Prevent Wildfires?
90% of forest fires are caused by human activities. There are many things we can all do to prevent or stop a fire from escalating.
- Report Unattended fires. If you are at a campsite or walking a trail and see a fire, immediately call 911 or the fire department. Even small camp fires and burning coals can create devastating fires.
- Extinguish Fire Pits and Campfires. During fire season the weather and land is dry, which makes ignition extremely easy. It is advised you do not have a fire during these peak months. However, if you do, ensure the entire fire is completely extinguished before you leave.
- Don’t Throw Out Lit Cigarettes. Most roadside fires are caused by lit cigarettes being tossed out of cars. It is important to properly and completely extinguish the cigarette before discarding it.
- Only Use Fireworks in Clear Areas. In the summer, there are tons of celebrations. The Fourth of July especially is huge for fireworks. Ensure that when you plan to let fire works off you are in clear area far from forests or wooded areas. Additionally, check local laws and legislations as many counties restrict the use of fireworks.
How To Prepare For Fire Season?
Preparing for the oncoming wildfire season is just as important as practicing prevention. Here are several ways you can get ready.
- Have An Evacuation Plan.
- Discard Leaves and Yard Debris
- Properly Store Flammable Chemicals in Appropriate Containers
- Never Outrun a Fire – seek cover in lakes, rivers, streams or even wet blankets.
- Use Masks – if you are stuck in a fire cover your mouth and nose to protect your lungs
- Follow Local Weather and News Reports – to ensure you are aware about air quality, evacuation orders and the status on current fires in the area.