Cal Fire Notes Extreme Increase in Winter Wildfires

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PLACER COUNTY-

Cal Fire says the state is experiencing dryness in January that’s more common in August. In fact, spokesman Daniel Berlant says his agency has responded to 300 wildfires across the state.

This time last year, there were none.

One such wildfire scorched more than a hundred acres of farmland Wednesday in Placer County.

“It’s worse this year than it has ever been, that I can remember,” rancher Robert Harmony said. Harmony has been growing hay and raising cattle for half a century.

The fire pushed right up against Harmony’s land.

Cal Fire’s Berlant paints a grim picture for California’s upcoming fire season.

“As we get to those peak months – summer, early fall – the size of these fires, the magnitude of these fires could be unprecedented,” Berlant said.

The drought – and the dangerous fire conditions – are just the latest hardship for valley farmers like Harmony. In December, a hard freeze put Harmony’s grass into a dormant stage.

Ian McDonald contributed to this report.

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