SACRAMENTO, CA - Fire officials said this year could be a very busy fire season as the fire potential is above normal in areas throughout the state.
Cal Fire has responded to more than 1,000 fires this year. That's more than twice the amount of fires compared to the same time period a year ago, according to Clare Frank, an assistant deputy director at Cal Fire.
The heightened alert this year is partly due to the dry conditions and warm temperatures.
Budget cuts are another problem for many agencies. Cal Fire faced an $80,000,000 reduction this year and cut 700 seasonal firefighters.
Frank, however, said the goal for firefighters is still the same: Attack the fires when they're small. If that fails, Frank said it will take longer to put out larger fires.
At this point, Cal Fire has not been at draw-down, a term that's used to describe when all of the agency's resources are being utilized at the same time.
Cal Fire also continues to work on mutual response agreements with other departments.
"Everyone is kind of waiting for this draw-down and whether or not we can do it as a profession and really pull together as the budget cuts impact us all in CA," said Frank. "We're communicating constantly with them and trying to be very proactive in our preparedness."
Cal Fire advised people to make sure homes are prepared prior to the fire season so they're ready when there's a wildfire.
- Maintain 100 feet of defensible space by clearing dead grass and brush
- Remove tree branches six feet from the ground
- Use fire-resistant materials when remodeling your home.
For more information about preparing your home for wildfires, check out www.readyforwildfire.org.