Cal Fire Calls on California Communities to Start Preparing for Wildfire Season

NATOMAS -- For Dave Calta of Rio Linda, now is the ideal time to cut the vegetation around his property.

"I mean when it's too wet you can't cut it," Calta said. "As soon as it gets dry enough, you have to start cutting it before it gets too dry. Once it gets too dry then it's a fire hazard."

The same winter rains that brought flooding to his community caused the grass to reach for the sky.

"It literally grew like a foot and a half in a week and the next week it was already 4 feet, 5 feet tall," Calta told FOX40.

When it comes to combustible grass, Calta is not willing to gamble.

"It's gonna start drying out so bad that I don't even want to leave the house because, you know, any car driving by could create a spark and it could just burn the whole field up," he said.

Cal Fire wishes everybody would take fire danger this seriously.

"We're looking at a lot of grass crop that is a fuse to those wildland fires in a lot of cases because it is so receptive to fire, catches on fire so easily," said Cal Fire spokesman Scott McLean.

McLean says the agency is staffing up for the busy time of year and working on a number of fuel reduction projects -- but they can't do it alone.

"Everybody in the state has a part to play," he said.

Homeowners are required to clear 100 feet of defensible space. McLean suggests beginning by focusing on the first 5 feet.

"Take away any plants that are up against the house, making sure there's nothing around that house that is susceptible to fire that would promote that fire into or onto that house," McLean said. "You as a homeowner and your family a chance to evacuate safely, and the firefighters to come in and take that stand. And if every community, every neighborhood continues to do that, just think of the buffer we have."

As Calta has seen in his own neighborhood, how you prepare can make all the difference.

"You'll see plumes of smoke all during the year when fire season hits and you'll just hope that it was just their field and not their house too," Calta said. "Get as much of it taken care of as soon as you can."

For more fire prevention tips, be sure to visit Cal Fire's site, readyforwildfire.org.

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