Due to the drought, fire season is starting early in California, and Cal Fire is already warning of dry, fire friendly conditions that have prompted them to hire extra firefighters ahead of what's likely to be a chaotic summer and fall. There have already been 651 "wildland" fires this year, as SF's KGO-TV reports, which is 50 percent higher than normal for this time of year, because grasses that would normally still be green have already turned brown and crispy for lack of rain.
Currently, the Cal Fire incident map is quiet, but you can expect that to change over the next two months. Officials warn that by mid-May, conditions will already be ripe for wildfires in parts of the East and South Bay in the Bay Area, and across much of coastal Southern California. Cal Fire has already staffed up their Santa Clara County unit 30 percent higher than usual with seasonal firefighters, and as the LA Times reported, Santa Barbara County is doing the same as of this week.
Jet Propulsion Laboratory climatologist Bill Patzert told the LA Times that a particularly "incendiary situation" this year, and we should basically treat every day from here on through next winter as fire season even though the worst fires have tended to happen in the fall when brush and hillsides are especially scorched.
Cal Fire Division Chief Jim Crawford tells KGO, "We really need the help from everybody from the public to do their part and provide defensible space around their property. That is really the key to being able to utilize our resources most effectively."
Also, smokers, no tossing butts out of car windows. Ever.