Fire Danger Increases This Week

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SACRAMENTO–

California experienced a dramatic increase in wildfire activity this year.  The Golden State saw 1,300 more wildfires in 2012 than in 2011.  And the potential for more is still there.

“Because of the fact that we have not had significant rain, and the fact that conditions remain dry, we are still at our peak level staffing,” said Cal Fire spokesman Daniel Berlant on Monday.

Looking back at California’s wildfire history, Berlant pointed out that nine of the state’s 20 most destructive fires happened during the month of October.

It was 21 years ago this week that the Oakland Hills fire destroyed thousands of homes and claimed 25 lives.  That fire broke out on a day of very low humidity with a strong north wind.

Winds are expected to increase from the north late Tuesday into Wednesday around Northern California, increasing the potential for fire to spread.

“Anything that has an open flame, or may have a spark or an ember, you need to be extra careful,” Berlant cautioned.  “Even with the temperatures down, a little bit of wind with the dry conditions and the low humidity are enough to allow fire to burn very quickly.”

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