CAL FIRE Nevada-Yuba-Placer Unit Assistant Chief Jim Mathias gives us this update on the 2021 fire season:
Wetter weather may be on the way but don’t let your guard down.
Most of us have welcomed the cooler temperatures and shorter hours of intense sunlight. This can lull us into a false sense of security and the hope that fire season will soon come to an end. There have even been a few brief periods of rain in the Sierra Foothills. The trees are changing colors and our air conditioners are running less frequently. We also have had a temporary relief from constant smoky skylines and reports of major fires in our area.
But we still live in California and the fire danger in the fall can be devastating. A recent example is the Camp Fire that destroyed Paradise, which started on November 8, 2018. The Nevada – Yuba – Placer Unit of CAL FIRE has experienced an increase in both fire activity and acres burned when comparing October 3, 2020, to October 3, 2021. We are up 5 wildland fires and 1,174 acres in the State Responsibility Areas. Fires so far this year have been driven by multi-year droughts and the lowest recorded fuel moistures ever in some areas. Those dry fuels and hot days pushed our fires through the area with some extreme spotting and rapid spreads.
As we get into this changing weather to cooler days and more of an “unstable air mass” over us, we will experience more wind events. The Foehn, or North Winds, that we could now potentially experience will rapidly spread fires into the dry fuels throughout our areas. We need to stay prepared and stay vigilant in our preparation for fires.
Here are a few tips to help:
- Now is a great time to get out and take a drive around your community to discover alternate escape routes that you might not have considered. Establish familiar landmarks of those new and unfamiliar routes so you can recognize the turns under the worst conditions.
- Visit CAL FIRE’s web site to make sure you are as prepared as you can be. Re-visit your knowledge of the READY, SET, GO Program. I know that if I don’t study for a test, months later the information can get lost.
- For information on LARGE fires in California visit CAL FIRE’s Incident page. (Note: This will not always have information on new, and rapidly expanding incidents.)
- Make sure you, your family members, and neighbors are registered for CodeRED.
- Know your evacuation zone.
- The Ready Nevada County website and dashboard are excellent sources for information during a wildfire.
As of right now, there is no talk of lifting the current burn ban. We will need to have significant rains to lower the fire danger before burning is allowed. Even when the burn ban is lifted, we will need to pay attention to those days that may have increased fire danger and make sure to verify that it is a burn day prior to burning (here or by calling 530-274-7928).