No Lassen or Plumas County resident needs to be told; they already know – but officially this is going to be a dangerous fire season. The just Northern California Geographic Coordination Center released its maps detailing what’s predicted for the next several months, and Northern California isn’t alone; the western United States is under drought conditions.
According to the National Interagency Fire Center, “Drought expanded and intensified over the West, especially in California. More than 87 percent of the West is now categorized in drought and over half the West in the highest two categories of drought. Snowpack set new record lows in parts of the West, including the Sierra, in May.”
In the north state more than half of the region was 50 percent below average in terms of precipitation. Vegetation is at about normal fuel loads, but already mostly cured, which would be more typical four to six weeks from now. This means an earlier start to the traditional fire season.
Looking ahead, the outlook is for a drier and warmer than average June through September, with significant fire potential above normal in the 3,000 foot-plus elevations this summer.
What does that mean locally? Now is the time to make residences as fire resistant as possible and to pack those to-go bags. There is an abundance of information available to help local residents prepare – both in print form and online.
Neighboring Plumas County Fire Safe Council, in collaboration with the Plumas County Office of Emergency Services and Plumas National Forest, and with financial support from Cal Fire, have published “Living with Fire.” The magazine is a resource for fire preparedness, with locally relevant information.
Topics include evacuation, fire insurance, defensible space and home hardening, assistance programs, power shutoffs, and more to help residents prepare for, and respond to, wildfire.
To view the magazine go to https://www.plumasfiresafe.org/living-with-fire.html