The current weather conditions in Southern California might lead one to believe that the fire season has come to an end. However, this assumption is far from accurate, especially for the Bay Area. According to Ed Orre, the Division Chief of the State of California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, it is premature to conclude whether tropical storm Hilary will bring an end or simply delay the fire season.
Orre emphasizes that Southern California is infamous for its occurrence of Santa Ana winds later in the year. These winds have the capability to rapidly dry out fuels and vegetation, even the green variety. Usually, these Santa Ana winds manifest in October and persist until December. Consequently, determining the state of the fire season in Southern California will take some time.
Meanwhile, Northern California’s Marin County Fire Chief, Jason Weber, believes that the recent rain has momentarily suspended the fire season in Southern California. However, he mentions that the effects of the rain have had little to no impact on the north coast, specifically from Monterey northwards.
The rain did compel several North Bay firefighting crews to relocate to the Bakersfield area in anticipation of any immediate swift water rescues. Nevertheless, Chief Orre emphasizes that those hoping for relief from fire dangers will be met with disappointment. He asserts that the period of respite from the fire season has merely been temporary, and if the heat and winds resume in the coming days, there will be minimal change in the situation.
Turning our attention to the northern region of the Bay Area, we find that the typically moist northwest California has experienced a scarcity of rain and even fog drip for several weeks now. Consequently, 27 fires sparked by lightning have ignited near the Oregon border, resulting in the burning of 28,000 acres of land.
Despite the occurrence of a rare tropical storm, the remaining months of this year have the potential to become a grueling fire season all across California. Thus, residents must remain vigilant and prepared for any potential fire hazards in the foreseeable future.