Category Archives: Seasonal Fire Safety

East Contra Costa Fire Urges Vigilance in Preventing Fires and Injuries Over 4th of July Holiday | Corona, CA

Press Release by ECT -Jun 26, 2020

Brentwood, CA — As we roll into the Fourth of July, hot, dry and windy conditions are once again expected and ECCFPD is asking everyone to do their part in preventing fires and injuries caused by fireworks. NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) states that throughout the nation over the last several years that approximately half of the reported fires on the Fourth of July were started by fireworks.

“Because our first priority is the safety of our community, it’s important to remind people what a fire-safe 4th of July means,” said ECCFPD Fire Chief Brian Helmick.

Contra Costa County (and Fire District) is a “fireworks-free-zone”; therefore, the possession or use of fireworks of all types and sizes (including Safe and Sane fireworks) are banned in the county and the Fire District (County Ordinance 44-2.002 and East Contra Costa County Fire Protection District Ordinance 5601.1.3). The District includes the cities of Brentwood and Oakley Discovery Bay, Bethel Island, Knightsen, Byron, Marsh Creek, and Morgan Territory.

“Compounded by the Fire District’s underfunded resources we need to do everything we can to prevent and protect against the threat of fires to our communities”, Fire Marshal Steven Aubert added, “Fire Service personnel will be out enforcing these laws with our allied Police agencies”, he said.  Any person who starts a fire from fireworks – even accidentally – can be held liable for the fire suppression costs as well as property damage costs.

Possession of illegal fireworks that explode, go into the air, or move on the ground in an uncontrollable manner can lead to a possible fine of up to $50,000 as well as prison time or jail for up to one year.

“We appreciate that everyone wants to celebrate the Independence Day holiday.  We just ask everyone to please avoid the temptation of putting yourself and your neighbors at risk.” Fire Marshall Aubert stated.

The District wishes everyone a fun and safe 4th of July holiday!

Learn more at www.eccfpd.org.

For more information about 4th of July fire safety, call CJ Suppression at 888-821-2334 or visit the website at www.cjsuppression.com.

CJ Suppression proudly serves Corona, CA and all surrounding areas.

TLC for Fire Extinguishers | Corona, CA

fire extinguisher service

Fires can happen at a moment’s notice, and without any warning. Because of this, it is important to have some type of fire protection at all times, whether it be your home or business. One of these fire safety options is the traditional fire extinguisher. It’s a very important tool to have to fight fires, however, if it’s not kept in good working condition, it will most likely be useless when you need it most. Yes, even fire extinguishers need some regular maintenance in order to do their job. To ensure that your fire extinguisher works in the event of a fire, you should follow these guidelines:

  • Make sure that your fire extinguisher is readily available.
  • Be sure that the fire extinguisher is set up properly so it’s easy to handle.
  • Check that your fire extinguisher is adequately charged at all times. Frequently check the pressure dial to see if it needs to be charged.
  • Make sure that the pull pin is properly secured in the handle and held in place by the tamper seal.
  • Inspect the extinguisher for any cracks, dents, or rust on its shaft which may hinder its performance.
  • Ensure that there are visible, legible operating instructions on the fire extinguisher in case of an emergency.
  • Be certain that no modifications have been made to your fire extinguisher that may affect its performance.

If you fail to maintain your fire extinguisher, the resulting consequences can range from property damage to loss of life. In order to avoid problems when you desperately need your fire extinguisher, set a monthly maintenance reminder.

For more information about fire extinguisher maintenance, call CJ Suppression at 888-821-2334 or visit the website at www.cjsuppression.com.

CJ Suppression proudly serves Corona, CA and all surrounding areas.

How the Coronavirus Pandemic Is Crippling California’s Efforts to Prevent Catastrophic Wildfires | Corona, CA

Kurtis Alexander March 25, 2020 Updated: March 25, 2020 9:04 a.m.

California’s ability to prepare for a dry and potentially dangerous fire season this year is being crippled as the coronavirus pandemic prompts fire agencies across the West to cancel or delay programs aimed at preventing catastrophic wildfire. From clearing out undergrowth in forests to training firefighters to tamp out flames, local, state and federal fire forces are trying to move forward within new social distancing guidelines, as well as with potentially sick employees, but that’s making their work harder and sometimes impossible to do.

The U.S. Forest Service, which oversees more than half of California’s wildlands, announced last week that it was suspending all prescribed burns, one of the most effective tools for increasing California’s resiliency to fire. The state’s Cal Fire agency, meanwhile, says it won’t halt its vegetation management activities — at least at this point — but it is rethinking how, when and where they’re done.

Spring fire preparations are considered vital to readying California for the warmer, drier summer and fall. Wildfire experts worry that disruptions caused by the coronavirus outbreak will not only increase the fire threat in the coming months but also sap momentum from a yearslong effort to make sure the state can weather the types of mega-fires recently seen in Butte County and Wine Country.

“If we don’t increase prescribed fire, restoration thinning and managed wildfire, we will never get out of our current forest problems,” said Scott Stephens, a professor of fire science at UC Berkeley. “Suspending prescribed fire further puts us in a hole in terms of long-term activities to increase forest resilience to climate change, wildfire and drought.”

Officials with the U.S. Forest Service, which oversees the nation’s largest firefighting force, said they were halting their burn program indefinitely so that communities wouldn’t have to deal with smoke during new shelter-in-place orders as well as for the safety of employees. About 5,000 Forest Service firefighters work in California.

Those conducting prescribed burns routinely travel in groups to burn sites, often across long distances. The work itself is done in crews of up to 20 members. Health experts have advised people to stay at least 6 feet away from others to prevent spread of the highly contagious coronavirus, and the White House has issued guidelines discouraging gatherings of more than 10.

The suspension of the burn program comes as the federal government, in concert with states like California, was beginning to initiate new, aggressive goals for prescribed fire in response to deadly blazes like the 2018 Camp Fire, which killed 85 people. Such infernos have helped put a spotlight on the perilous, overgrown condition of the nation’s forests, and burning off the thick brush and dead trees has proved a cost-effective solution.

“A lot of people were looking forward to this year being a ramping up of prescribed fire,” said Malcolm North, a professor of plant sciences at UC Davis who works with the U.S. Forest Service in the Sierra Nevada. “My concern now is that we’re going to be more reactive to fire than proactive.”

In response to the pandemic, the U.S. Forest Service has also called off in-person fire training through at least April 3 and canceled meetings where planning and risk assessment is done for fire season.

Like many businesses, the federal agency has moved many work discussions and training sessions online. However, surveying the landscape for fire danger and learning how to drive a fire engine are tough to do via Zoom.

“Training that cannot be done virtually will either be conducted in smaller groups or a waiver may be given until the training can be completed at a later date,” said Jonathan Groveman, spokesman for the Pacific Southwest Region of the Forest Service, in a statement to The Chronicle.

The biggest challenge may lie ahead as making adjustments, including social distancing, only gets harder come fire season. It’s a reality that fire officials have just begun to ponder.

The big wildfires that burn in California typically draw hundreds, if not thousands, of firefighters into densely packed tent cities, where they work, eat and sleep together for weeks. Norovirusoutbreaks are common, and the more severe coronavirus would probably find ripe breeding grounds there.

If the virus continues to spread, as many medical experts expect, some firefighters might be too sick to make it to the front lines. Already, local fire departments have begun to report that some of their employees are infected by the virus or showing symptoms of the corresponding illness, COVID-19.

“The thing I worry about is firefighter health and wellness,” said Kelly Martin, the recently retired chief of Yosemite National Park’s fire program. “Our firefighting workforce is already stretched to the max in terms of the year-to-year response to these large fires where whole communities are being destroyed. The firefighters are already seeing a toll.”

Martin advises that residents in rural and wooded areas prepare for a less robust response from fire agencies this year. She encourages more home hardening for wildfire and clearing more vegetation around houses. “Don’t always count on the helicopters and the air tankers and the firefighters to be there,” she said.

In Grass Valley (Nevada County), a community in the Sierra foothills that has come together in recent years to address the area’s high fire risk, residents are trying to continue neighborhood fire-prevention work despite the obstacles posed by the coronavirus.

“We’re not going to have our April meeting, and we don’t know about May,” said Susan Rogers, 68, an organizing member of the Nevada County Coalition of Firewise Communities. “But we can put stuff on our website and link people to it. That’s how we’ll keep people updated for now.”

Officials at Cal Fire say they’re also continuing to help communities get prepared. They don’t plan to stop their house-to-house safety inspections, which they do thousands of each spring, nor curtail the work of crews that trim trees and cut fire breaks around homes.

Cal Fire’s academies for new and seasonal firefighters will go on as well. The agency expects to have close to 7,000 total firefighters at work during peak season. “We don’t know what’s going to happen, but rest assured, we will respond accordingly,” said Scott McLean, spokesman for Cal Fire. “That is our job.”

Kurtis Alexander is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: kalexander@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @kurtisalexander

For more information about our services, call CJ Suppression at 888-821-2334 or visit the website at www.cjsuppression.com.

CJ Suppression proudly serves Corona, CA and all surrounding areas.

Family Puts out Christmas Fire After Kid Sets Lawn Ablaze with Magnifying Glass | Corona, CA

Dec. 30, 2019, 8:52 PM PST / Source: TODAY

By Samantha Kubota

Almost every family that celebrates Christmas has a ridiculous story of how someone got into some shenanigans at some point — but it seems likely that only one Texas family can say that this December they accidentally set their lawn ablaze with a magnifying glass.

Nissa-Lynn Parson was not surprised when her 12-year-old Cayden asked for the magnifying glass for Christmas. She explained he loves reading and science, so she assumed that was why he wanted it. “It’s like a basketball player asking for basketball shoes,” she added.

The family donned their matching pajamas and opened presents on the big day. After the exchange, the kids went outside to try to burn a few holes into newspapers with Cayden’s gift. “We were watching it and everything,” Parson explained. “I was happy they were outside playing together! They weren’t playing video games and wanted to go outside.”

Her 15-year-old was holding a paper that caught fire and the wind blew it out of his hands, Parson said, and into the lawn.

“The kids ran inside and said ‘Mom, dad, we got a little bit of the grass on fire!’” she said. They rushed outside and within seconds, the whole lawn was ablaze.

“We’re all in Christmas pajamas, someone had a bucket of water, my husband turned the sprinklers on,” she said. “We got it contained and it wasn’t a problem.”

The family fire brigade was able to extinguish the blaze without calling the fire department. “It could’ve been a lot worse,” Parson said. “We were very blessed and thankful it wasn’t worse.” The fire even took out a small part of their neighbor’s lawn, but Parson said they took it well. “They were totally understanding and they kind of laughed because they also have kids,” she said.

She believes part of the reason her Facebook post went viral was because so many people can identify with it. “I think that’s one of the reasons this story took off, because so many people related,” she said. “(We’re lucky) it just turned out to be a Christmas memory and not a tragedy.”

Samantha Kubota is a digital journalist and editor for TODAY.com.

For more information about our services, call CJ Suppression at 888-821-2334 or visit the website at www.cjsuppression.com.

CJ Suppression proudly serves Corona, CA and all surrounding areas.

Stay Safe this Holiday Season | Corona, CA

The holiday season is the time of year for family, friends and lots of fantastic festivities. We take a lot of pride in our homes and spend lots of time decorating them to the nines, but we also need to take some time to keep your home and everyone safe and sound. Accidents happen, but they can be prevented by keeping a few tips in mind as we prepare our homes for the celebrations:

Prepare for the worst. First thing’s first – make sure all of your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are tested and running properly. It is also important that everyone in your home knows the fire escape plan, just in case something happens, and you need to exit quickly.

Pamper your pine. An average of 230 home fires that start with Christmas trees each year. If you have a live tree in your home, make sure you get a fresh one and water them daily so that it doesn’t dry out before the holidays are over. If it’s artificial, make sure there is a fire-resistant label.

Check your cords. When it comes to holiday décor, make sure to check all light strands and decorations for any frays or cord damage that may have happened over the year. Never connect more than three at a time and avoid overloading the outlets. Make sure to turn off any sort of holiday lighting before you leave the house or fall asleep.

Stay warm. As you plug in your heaters and spark your fireplaces, ensure that anything that can catch fire is at least three feet away. If you are lighting candles, snuff them out before you leave the room or head off to bed.

For more information about our services, call CJ Suppression at 888-821-2334 or visit the website at www.cjsuppression.com.

CJ Suppression proudly serves Corona, CA and all surrounding areas.

Canyon Fire Burn Area Winter Preparedness | Corona, CA

When rainfall events are predicted, stay alert, and monitor information sources. Those living in this area should follow city information and think about what to do should they be asked to leave their homes.

Based off predicted rainfall amounts and the duration of time in which it will occur, the National Weather Service (NWS) may issue a Flash Flood Warning. Flash Flood Warnings will be given via television, radio and wireless emergency alerts if your device is compatible. In the event a Flash Flood Warning is issued for the Canyon Fire burn area, evacuation orders may be given. If you are told to evacuate, please adhere to these orders, as they are given to ensure your safety.

The City of Corona has a local notification system that will send telephone notifications to resident and business during an emergency. Only landlines are in the system. Register your cell phone number and select if you would like to receive an additional notification by email and/or text. Visit www.CoronaCA.gov/ENS to register!

Remember when rainfall events are predicted regardless how large or small, stay vigilant as weather can change quickly.

In preparation for upcoming storms, up to ten free pre-filled sandbags are available for Corona residents at Santana Park. There are also sandbags at Fire Station #5 at Canyon Crest for residents of the Canyon Fire burn area.

  • Santana Park: 598 Santana Way
  • Fire Station #5: 1200 Canyon Crest Drive

It is important to remember areas within and downslope of the Canyon Fire burned areas have an increased risk of erosion, flash flooding and debris flows. Remember when rainfall events are predicted regardless how large or small, stay vigilant as weather can change quickly.

For more information about our services, call CJ Suppression at 888-821-2334 or visit the website at www.cjsuppression.com.

CJ Suppression proudly serves Corona, CA and all surrounding areas.

California Wildfires: Homes Burn in San Bernardino and Strong Winds Threaten to Stoke Other Blazes | Corona, CA

By Madeline Holcombe, Gianluca Mezzofiore and Jason Hanna, CNN

Updated 1:37 PM ET, Thu October 31, 2019

(CNN)Firefighters are trying to contain a wildfire that raced into part of San Bernardino in Southern California and engulfed a few homes overnight, and officials are urging more than 1,000 people to stay away while the battle goes on Thursday morning.

The Hillside Fire — which started sometime after midnight in the hills above San Bernardino — quickly consumed about 200 acres, officials said, and is one of at least 10 active wildfires in a state plagued by them in recent weeks.

Strong winds Thursday threaten to stoke the flames further. With gusts stronger than 50 mph expected in some areas, more than 17 million people in Southern California are under red flag warnings — meaning wind, humidity and other conditions are ripe for fires.

In northern San Bernardino, wind-driven flames moved from the hills and destroyed or damaged six homes and two other buildings by 7:30 a.m. (10:30 a.m. ET), San Bernardino County Fire Chief Don Trapp said.

Authorities rushed to alert residents as the flames swept into some neighborhoods overnight, stunning residents who’d been sleeping. No injuries have been reported.

Julien Cooper, 53, and his father were sleeping in Cooper’s San Bernardino home when he heard his phone ringing. He woke up and smelled smoke.

“Ten seconds later, I hear the doorbell and I already know what it is since we had a fire a week ago,” he told CNN. “It was the neighbor saying that there was a fire in the field.”

Cooper grabbed his dad and his dog, crossed the street to help the neighbor’s elderly mother evacuate and met up with a relative at a McDonald’s. Minutes later he returned home and grabbed some valuables — and his neighbor’s home was on fire.

Cooper took video of the neighbor’s house engulfed in flames. His nephew Henri Moser, who lives in Maine, shared it on Twitter. Cooper said he heard firefighters say they’d try to save his house, which had barely survived a wildfire 39 years earlier.

490 homes in San Bernardino evacuated

By mid-morning Thursday, firefighters had stopped the flames in at least one neighborhood where a home burned to the foundation, video from CNN affiliate KTLA showed. But fire was burning elsewhere near the city.

“This fire moves so fast that it’s imperative that people ‘evacuate when we ask them to,” San Bernardino County Fire Deputy Chief Kathleen Opliger said.

“It’s not a safe place to be.”

Evacuations have been ordered for about 490 homes in northern San Bernardino, accounting for about 1,300 people, the county fire department said. Hundreds of firefighters were there, trying to contain the flames, San Bernardino County Fire Department spokesman Chris Prater said.

The fire was a few miles away from Cal State San Bernardino, which was closed Thursday because the regional utility intentionally cut power as a precaution, hoping to prevent fires in the red-flag conditions. The campus lost power at 3:20 a.m. Thursday.

Just to the southeast, firefighters also were battling a blaze that erupted Thursday morning in Riverside County’s Jurupa Valley, prompting evacuations. With county fire officials reporting three homes there destroyed, workers at a pet adoption center prepared evacuations as flames licked nearby brush, an employee told KTLA.

Fires in the Los Angeles area

Thursday’s winds will be of no help to Los Angeles-area firefighters, who are battling several blazes.

The Getty Fire in Los Angeles, which began Monday, is threatening more than 7,000 homes, the Los Angeles Fire Department said. Most evacuations have been lifted, and the blaze is 39% contained.

And about 40 miles northwest of the city, the Easy Fire broke out in Simi Valley Wednesday. Wind gusts of hurricane force — at least 74 mph — were reported at a weather station about seven miles north of Simi Valley.

The Easy Fire quickly consumed more than 1,600 acres in Ventura County and threatened 6,500 homes, officials said. The fire forced school closures and mandatory evacuations of about 30,000 people in Simi Valley, officials said. Three firefighters have been hurt.

Those evacuations included the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, where the former President and his wife, Nancy, are buried. The facility appeared safe by Wednesday evening after firefighters responded.

The state has secured grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help fight several fires, including the Easy Fire and the blazes in San Bernadino and Riverside County, the governor’s office said. The grants allow affected local and state and agencies to apply for a 75% reimbursement of eligible fire suppression costs.

Power companies may be responsible for fires

The Simi Valley wildfire started near a Southern California Edison sub-transmission line, the power company said, adding that it has filed a report with the state Public Utilities Commission.

“SCE is conducting a review into the circumstances surrounding the fire, and will cooperate with all investigations into the origin and cause of the fire,” the company said in a statement.

The company said Tuesday that its equipment likely also contributed to the Woolsey Fire last November. The fire became one of the most destructive in the state, according to the California Department of Forestry & Fire Protection, killing three people and destroying more than 1,600 structures.

In Northern California, Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) filed three reports with the California Public Utility Commission Wednesday indicating that its equipment may be involved in the start of three fires, according to officials.

Bill Johnson, CEO and President of PG&E Corp., told media the company has contacted the state about reports of videos possibly showing sparking powerlines at the Bethel Island and Oakley fires.

A third report was then filed linking its equipment to a fire in Milpitas, California.

“Troublemen observed wire down. They observed two houses, two cars, and a shed damaged by the fire. An on-site Milpitas Fire Department Investigator informed the troubleman that he was looking at the downed wire as a potential ignition source and collected a portion of the conductor into evidence,” PG&E said in a statement to CNN.

PG&E has been under scrutiny in recent years for the role its equipment played in several devastating fires across the state, including last year’s deadly Camp Fire, which killed 85 people. Over the last weeks, the utility has been enacting preventative shutoffs all over northern and central California.

California’s biggest fire is far from contained

North of the San Francisco Bay, the week-old Kincade Fire — the state’s largest active wildfire — has destroyed nearly 77,000 acres across Sonoma County and more than 260 structures, including more than 130 single-family homes, officials said.

It was about 60% contained as of Thursday morning. At the Sonoma County Airport, several airlines have canceled all flights for Thursday.

The Kincade Fire started October 23, but the cause is still under investigation.

The good news: Forecasters say winds in Northern California will weaken through Thursday, and more residents can go home.

CNN’s Cheri Mossburg, Joe Sutton, Holly Yan, Ray Sanchez and Dave Hennen contributed to this report.

For more information about fire safety, call CJ Suppression at 888-821-2334 or visit the website at www.cjsuppression.com.

CJ Suppression proudly serves Corona, CA and all surrounding areas.

Cal Fire Makes Progress on a Slew of Wildfires Raging Across Northern California | Corona, CA

BY VINCENT MOLESKI

SEPTEMBER 08, 2019 11:29 AM, UPDATED SEPTEMBER 08, 2019 12:26 PM

Cal Fire crews are working to fight fires across Northern California, with at least three major wildfires burning in Tehama, Butte and Lake counties. One of the largest wildfires in the region is the Red Bank Fire, burning west of Red Bluff in Tehama County. The Red Bank Fire was started by lightning on Thursday after weather officials warned of hazardous conditions and dry thunderstorms in the area.

The fire is currently 8,838 acres and 20% contained, according to Cal Fire. Cooler weather brought some relief to firefighters, Cal Fire said, but the situation is still dangerous.

“Although the humidities will be higher, the vegetation remains extremely dry and volatile,” Cal Fire said in a Red Bank status update. “Terrain and access will continue to challenge firefighting efforts.”

Evacuations remain in place between the Shasta-Trinity National Forest and the intersection of Four Corners and the Petty John, Hammer Loop and Weemasoul Road areas south of Vestal Road.

The Swedes Fire in Butte County east of Oroville doubled in size, reaching 400 acres, but Cal Fire crews have managed to contain 20% of the wildfire. The Swedes Fire started Saturday, growing in minutes to 50 acres and reaching 200 acres later in the day. The cause is still under investigation, Cal Fire said.

“Fire activity was minimal overnight as winds were light and relative humidity was high, and crews made good progress,” Cal Fire said in an update. “The focus for today is improving containment lines in areas of steep, rugged terrain.”

Evacuation orders remain on Mount Ida Road, Quality Lane, Deer Valley Road from Swedes Flat Road to Jernigan Way, Lost Horizon Drive to the Oro-Quincy Highway and Old Olive Highway to the Oro-Quincy Highway.

The Swedes Fire has destroyed two structures.

The Oak Fire, which Cal Fire said started near Kelseyville in Lake County Friday, was fully contained as of Sunday morning at 53 acres.

“Cal Fire and cooperating agencies made significant progress overnight by completing containment lines around the fire,” Cal Fire said in its final incident report for the Oak Fire. “Fire personnel will be extinguishing these areas today and will be checking the fire area over the next several days.”

All roads in the area are now open, but evacuations are still advised, according to Cal Fire. The Oak Fire destroyed one structure.

For more information about fire updates, call CJ Suppression at 888-821-2334 or visit the website at www.cjsuppression.com.

CJ Suppression proudly serves Corona, CA and all surrounding areas.

Why California Is Having Its Mildest Fire Season in 20 Years | Corona, CA

By Paul Rogers

Firefighters and rural residents have been on edge about wildfires all year, after the Camp Fire, the deadliest in the United States in 100 years, obliterated the town of Paradise in Butte County last November, killing 86 people, and the Wine Country fires the year before destroyed more than 6,000 homes in a similar trail of death and destruction across Napa, Sonoma and Lake counties.

Yet in a run of much-needed good fortune, California has been spared this year — at least so far.

a screenshot of a cell phone

© Provided by MediaNews Group d/b/a Digital First Media

There are still at least two months left in fire season, and hot weather is forecast over the next two weeks, so things could change. But as of this week, fewer acres have burned in California this year than in any year since 1998, according to an analysis of 25 years of federal and state fire records by this news organization.

“It’s been great. We don’t want to see fire. We don’t want to see anybody hurt,” said Scott McLean, deputy chief of Cal Fire, the state’s primary firefighting agency. “Our troops need the break. They need the rest.”

From Jan. 1 through Aug. 21, a total of 65,360 acres burned statewide on all types of land, including private property, national forests, national parks and other lands. That’s a staggering 94 percent less than what had burned last year over the same period in California: 1,096,033 acres, an area more than three times the size of Los Angeles.

More noteworthy: This year’s total is 83 percent lower than the previous 10-year average through Aug. 21, which is 387,295 acres.

On Friday, as crews put the finishing touches on extinguishing the 600-acre Mountain fire north of Redding, no major fires were burning anywhere in California. In fact, the U.S. Forest Service has rated most of the state as at “moderate” risk for wildfires this week, issuing a map largely colored green while major parts of Nevada, Utah and Arizona were orange and red.

© Provided by MediaNews Group d/b/a Digital First Media

There are two main reasons for the lack of catastrophic fires this year, experts say.

First, this past winter was very wet across the state. Fed by soaking atmospheric river storms that barreled in off the Pacific Ocean, the Sierra Nevada snow pack grew to 161 percent of its historical average by April 1. Lake Tahoe filled to the top, and ski resorts stayed open until July.

Fires don’t burn in snow. At lower elevations, umbrellas were out a lot, too. Rains filled reservoirs and replenished rivers and groundwater basins that were still suffering from the state’s five-year drought, which ended in 2017. That drenched millions of acres, reducing fire risk.

Added to that, temperatures across much of California have been slightly cooler than normal so far this summer, even though other parts of the world have seen record heat waves as the climate continues to warm. Record wildfires are raging in Alaska, Siberia and the Amazon rainforest, for example, and last week federal scientists reported that July was the hottest month globally ever recorded back to 1880 when modern temperature records began

“We have epic fires elsewhere,”  said Craig Clements, professor of meteorology at San Jose State University and director of the school’s fire lab. “But because our weather locally was cooler and wetter, our fire danger was lower. But in the long term, the trends are showing we are going to have more drought and warmer temperatures. That’s going to affect wildfire.”

A key factor in wildfire risk in California is the moisture content of plants — basically, how much water they have soaked up. The more water they have, the more difficult it is for them to burn.

The moisture content of manzanita and chemise, two plants scientists regularly measure to gauge fire risk across California, is about 20 percent higher now in the Bay Area than average, Clements said.

So even though wet winters cause more grass to grow, he said, when larger vegetation like shrubs and trees soak up more moisture during wet winter and spring conditions, fires that start in the grasses don’t spread as rapidly to shrubs and trees as they do in dry years. That allows fire crews to make progress before the flames explode out of control and burn hundreds of homes.

“There have been a lot of ignitions, but the fires are being put out,” Clements said. “They aren’t spreading as fast this year.”

That’s what happened Thursday when an ominous fire began 15 miles north of Redding, near Shasta Lake. That blaze, called the Mountain Fire, immediately re-kindled memories of the Carr Fire last August, which started when a flat tire on a vehicle caused its metal rim to spark against the road. That fire burned for a month, charring 229,000 acres around Redding, killing three firefighters and five residents, destroying 1,600 buildings and causing $1.6 billion in damage.

As soon as the Mountain Fire started, Cal Fire, the Forest Service and local fire agencies leaped into action, sending more than 500 firefighters to the blaze in meadows, rural subdivisions and oak woodlands.

© Provided by MediaNews Group d/b/a Digital First Media Smoke rises from the Mountain Fire near Redding on Thursday. (Photo: Cal Fire)

Roughly 4,000 residents in the area near Shasta Lake were evacuated. But by Friday morning, the fire’s progress had halted at 600 acres, and crews said they expected it to be out by late Saturday. Three homes burned, but no one died.

“The concern was that we are looking at triple-digit heat with winds forecast for this week coming up,” said McLean. “We wanted to get ahead of the game. There are no flames there now, just a few hot spots.”

An analysis by this news organization of fire and weather records over the past 25 years shows that four of the five worst fire years back to 1994 all occurred after drier-than-normal winters and, similarly, four of the five mildest fire years, including this year, all occurred after wetter-than-normal winters.

There are exceptions. In late 2016 and early 2017, there was a very wet winter. But dry conditions followed in October, and by November, heavy winds knocked down power lines across the state, sparking fires across Napa, Sonoma and Lake counties.

With forecasters calling for hot weather over the next two weeks, fire crews are on alert, McLean said, adding that he hopes for rain in October to dramatically cut fire danger.

“We can’t be complacent,” he said. “We still have a long way to go. September and October are historically our worst months for fires. It only takes one spark.”

Mercury News researcher Leigh Poitinger contributed to this report.

For more information about fire season updates, call CJ Suppression at 888-821-2334 or visit the website at www.cjsuppression.com.

CJ Suppression proudly serves Corona, CA and all surrounding areas.

Vegetation Fire Burns More than 11 Acres in Paso Robles Riverbed

By Gabby Ferreira

June 30, 2019 12:20 PM, UPDATED JUNE 30, 2019 03:17 PM

A fire in Paso Robles burned about 11.5 acres of land on Saturday, according to the Paso Robles Department of Emergency Services. The fire was reported in the area of North River Road at about 5 p.m., the agency said.

The wind-driven fire was burning in dense vegetation in the Salinas riverbed, and was difficult for firefighters to access, Emergency Services said. The area of North River Road between Union Road and River Oaks Drive was closed for about five hours as emergency crews worked to fight the fire.

A total of 62 firefighters from Paso Robles, Cal Fire, Camp Roberts, Templeton and Atascadero responded to the blaze, Emergency Services said.

Officials initially said the fire had burned about 6 acres, but that number was updated to 11.51 acres on Sunday morning, following more accurate mapping of the area, according to Emergency Services.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

This is the second fire to erupt in the Salinas riverbed this month: On June 10, a brush fire in the riverbed in the 100 block of Niblick Road forced authorities to close the Niblick Bridge until they could contain the fire.

For more information about fire safety, call CJ Suppression at 888-821-2334 or visit the website at www.cjsuppression.com.

CJ Suppression proudly serves Corona, CA and all surrounding areas.