Local communities ready for fire season as February closes without any rain

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(KTXL) -- Near the end of what is likely to be the driest February on record in the Sacramento region, some communities have been focused on fire season.

The city of Rocklin is employing 1,300 sheep and goats that can eat up 6 acres of grass per day.

“So, we do a reduction in fuels for the fires and at the same time, they’re also looking for an ecological benefit on the open space,” said Rob Thompson of Legacy Ranching in Grass Valley.

Thompson owns the goats and provides the service throughout the region.

“Some of these places, we’re already eating wild oats that are 4 or 5 feet high,” Thompson told FOX40. “So, we’re trying to get on top of it and get them knocked down before it grows and gets out of hand this year.”

"That is really something that a lot of cities are engaging. It's a great operation,” said Cal Fire Chief Mike Mohler.

Chief Mohler said now is the time to get ready for fire season.

"We never want to just cry wolf, and the doom and gloom,” he said. “But if you live in California, we're to the point now that it really is year-round. Get your home prepared, prepare your family."

Just last week, a wildfire on Tahoe National Forest land in Sierra County burned 200 acres at an elevation of 4,000 feet. It is a place that had snow on the ground at this time last year.

"We had a north wind on that fire. This is very early to have a north wind event," Mohler explained.

California is not currently in a drought and reservoir storage is healthy.

But the vegetation that dried during the recent drought still poses a fire risk.

"That dead fuel is still scattered across California," Mohler told FOX40.

And with the lack of rain this month, Chief Mohler pointed out the grasses that are green right now could be dry in a few weeks.

"We don't have a technical wildland fire season anymore,” he said. “It really is a year-round operation."

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