High Fire Season Is Right Around the Corner

Santa Barbara County Has Gotten Less Than Half of Its Normal Rainfall

A plane drops flame retardant on the 2020 Drum Fire just west of Buellton. | Credit: Daniel Dreifuss (file)

Don’t let the recent cool weather fool you. High fire season for the County of Santa Barbara ― now teetering on the edge of another serious drought ― is just one week away. 

Regional fire officials announced that the season begins Monday, May 3, meaning no more burn permits will be issued and individual departments will be increasing the number of resources (e.g., engines, dozers, crews, helicopters, etc.) they throw at vegetation fires. 

The 2020-21 rainy season yielded just 47 percent of our normal rainfall, explained County Fire spokesperson Captain Daniel Bertucelli, which has resulted in significantly drier fuels. “Combined with dry seasonal grasses for this time of year, this poses a significant risk for ignition and growth of a vegetation fire,” he said.

The State of California is in the process of giving out more than $165 million to develop and carry out fire-prevention projects. The Santa Barbara County Fire Department is in the process of applying for the funds. 

In the meantime, Bertucelli urged residents to “maintain vegetation clearance around structures, review and be familiar with your ‘Ready! Set! Go!’ wildfire action plan, and be extra cautious and aware when traveling or staying in the wildland areas of the county.”

For more safety information, visit sbcfire.com.


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