SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) – A new National Weather Service graphic indicates high fire danger for the next few days over a large section of Northern California.
“The northern region of California where those Red Flags Warnings are have staffed up additional resources,” said Cal Fire Captain Robert Foxworthy.
California has already seen around 700 more fires in 2021 compared to this time a year ago.
Foxworthy told FOX40 that in anticipation of a season filled with fires staffing is already at levels traditionally not seen until mid-to-late June.
Also different than years past, Cal Fire is hiring more than 1,200 hand crew members to substitute work normally done by inmates.
The new firefighters won’t be waiting until a fire occurs to get to work though.
“Basically getting out and doing that vegetation clearing, putting in fuel breaks, doing all of those things that have paid dividends for us in the past,” Foxworthy explained.
Firefighters are not only dealing with dry vegetation after a poor wet season but also have drought conditions on their minds.
The effect could mean fires popping up anywhere at anytime.
The key here, Cal Fire said, is to use the air to get to fires just minutes after they start.
“So, at any point in the state should we get a fire, we can respond aircraft to any fire in the state of California within 20 minutes flight time,” Foxworthy said.
Cal Fire also said it has four helicopters that will eventually be able to fly over fires at night, something the agency has not had in years past.