SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Fire season usually peaks in September and October, but many fires have been burning up and down California since July.
Last October’s Santa Rosa wildfires remain one of the most devastating in state history.
But look out, a rare early rain is headed toward Sacramento later this week. It may not be a deluge, but meteorologists at the National Weather Service will be watching two upcoming storm systems closely.
The first is set to hit Friday into Saturday; the second on Monday into Tuesday. Despite the much-needed rain, this may not be the soaker firefighters need.
“It sounds kind of cliché but it’s fall. Don’t fall for it. We have some of our biggest fires in these months,” said Cal Fire Deputy Director Mike Mohler.
And Mohler says, there’s a reason the biggest fires happen in these later months.
“When we get into the fall months, you have to think about it too… this vegetation beside the drought… it’s been exposed to all summer months so that vegetation is cured… ready to go…it’s ignition point is critical,” Mohler said.
Michelle Mead works with the Weather Service in Sacramento. She says the timing of the upcoming low-pressure system is unusual, but not unprecedented.
The last time we got a rain this early in the season was back in September of 2014.
Meteorologists are predicting a likely El Niño year which could mean a lot of rain for the area, rather than snow. But in California, results may vary.
“California is a long skinny state… sometimes we benefit sometimes we don’t… in fact, last El Nino 2016/2017 SoCal was supposed to get nailed real hard…got none, and northern got normal,” said Mead.
California weather may as unpredictable as our wildfires, but Cal Fire says it’s determined to stick to the plan.
“We will not change our dispatching levels regardless,” said Mohler.
Part of Cal Fire’s plan is to prepare for longer fire seasons, because of the dry conditions. The agency is receiving an extra $230 million dollars in emergency funding. Cal Fire says it’s already spent $432 million so far this year to fight fires.