AUBURN, Calif. (KTXL) — Fire equipment at a Cal Fire station in Auburn is ready for what could be a long wildfire season.
“The conditions are not improving,” said Isaac Sanchez, Cal Fire battalion chief of communications.
It is why many Cal Fire units across the state made the decision that starting Sunday they would increase peak staffing levels and make sure every position available is filled.
The move comes earlier than normal due to hot temperatures and a lack of moisture that could produce dangerous conditions.
“When we compared that to the number of fires we have been seeing across the state, it absolutely is the right to move to make,” Sanchez said.
Sanchez told FOX40 that as of last Monday there have been around 2,500 fires across the state this year. Last year, there were only 1,750 around this time.
Acreage burned also increased dramatically. About 12,000 acres have burned this year compared to around 3,000 last year.
“It’s definitely a trend we would rather not see, but it is the reality we are facing right now,” Sanchez said.
He says being ready will not be enough, and people across the state will have to do their part — such as not starting fires and creating defensible space.
“It’s not going to get any better until we actually get some rain again,” Sanchez said. “We have to plan for the worst and hope for the best.”
Sanchez said this year so far is not just beating last year’s number, but it is also beating the five-year average.