By Ryan Hill


SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — The soft pitter-patter of precipitation was a familiar sight in parking lots and highways across the area on Monday, but some neighbors in South Sacramento know all too well that a light shower isn’t enough to stop big flames from sparking.

“I know for a fact that the rain we had is not enough. I know you can still have fire if any accident happens or somebody throws something,” Maria Sanchez said.

Cal Fire and Sacramento Metro Fire say rain is helpful when it comes to preventing fires, but you need a good amount of it. Crews say one inch of rain or more needs to soak into the ground to be effective.

“This little bit of rain that we got which is already dried out from the sun that’s already come out after a few hours,” Captain Chris Vestal said. “These fuels would be ready to burn by this afternoon and into tomorrow.”

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Vestal said that some people tend to think that they are in the clear of any fire dangers following these types of rain showers.

“They brought into a kind of false sense of relief that fire season’s over at the fire danger is lower than it was,” Vestal said.

In fact, the danger is more prevalent despite the cool rain coming through.

“Next weekend, we’re already back into the 90s with north winds are 10 mph forecast for Friday and Saturday. So our fire danger is going to be right at the height of the fire season,” Vestal said.

The rain that is needed to make any kind of impact may not come for at least a couple of months.

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“So until we get persistent and repetitive rain, which really doesn’t happen until November or December in these areas, we’re still looking at fire dangers,” Vestal said.

Rain like what sprinkled Monday is not enough to keep fuel from being a fire starter, and people should be taking steps to make sure the rain doesn’t wash away fire concerns.

“When we have this, we really want to remind everybody of summer to keep doing what you’ve been doing all summer,” Vestal said.

In fact, on Sunday, neighbors on Florin Road saw flames roar and crews put out a vegetation fire near their homes.

“What I was scared of was that the wind was really bad yesterday. If that would’ve been a really bad fire, we would’ve been in trouble,” Maria Sanchez said.

Recent vegetation fires in South Sacramento may not have been caused by carelessness after a downpour. Vestal said the department is looking into every possible cause including arson.

“In an area like this next to roadway there could be something from a vehicle there are power lines so that could’ve been the cause. Or somebody could’ve intentionally started it,” Vestal said.

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