SOLANO COUNTY (CBS13) — The record size and number of wildfires this year is keeping firefighters and communities on edge.
As we head into fall, Cal Fire urges people to not get comfortable. Some of the worst fires in California have happened during the holiday season, including the Camp Fire in November 2018.
“We’re not done. This year is not done. We have quite a ways to go, unfortunately,” said Chief Scott McLean with Cal Fire.
McLean warns that right now vegetation is at its driest and sits waiting to fuel the next fire.
“You’re looking at dry grasses, dry brush and dry timber. Everything’s vying for what every little bit of nutrient they can get,” he said.
Fire stricken communities are recovering, but worrying about the months ahead. Jodi McGuire has been at her donation center for 36 days straight. She helps fire victims in Vacaville.
“I’m just hoping and praying every day that’s it’s got to come to a stop. There’s plenty to burn but hopefully, we can get a grip on it,” McGuire said.
McLean said land that has burned once can burn again if the conditions are right. Some firefighters haven’t been home in weeks, trying to get a handle on the fires we’re dealing with right now.
“Individuals are staying on the fire lines consistently 30 hours, 36 hours just to continue to combat it because the resources are so far and few between,” McLean said.
On top of dry vegetation, fall brings changing weather and more winds. With heavy smoke in the air, it’s often impossible to use aircraft to battle the flames.
“It’s like, where’s the end of the tunnel?” McLean said.
A hard pill to swallow for families who have lost everything and communities still fighting a fire season that’s far from over.
“It’s been horrific and I might need therapy after this because I feel for these people,” McGuire said.
The main message from Cal Fire is: Don’t get complacent. Some of the largest fires in California have happened in the fall. Officials urge California residents, especially those in fire-prone areas, to have their evacuation plans in place and be ready to go.
You can learn more about wildfire preparedness at www.readyforwildfire.org