Cal Fire adding staff, girding for what could be a big wildfire season

Posted by Mark Grossi on March 31, 2014 

Rim fire burned more than 400 square miles in the Sierra Nevada during a dry 2013..

MODESTO BEE — Modesto Bee

Cal Fire is adding staff this week to get ready for the wildfire season -- which, by the way, has been going strong since January. It's another indication of how dry California is this year.

Between Jan. 1 and March 22, Cal Fire had responded to 800 wildfires that have blackened nearly 2,300 acres. January wildfires are not common, but there were 400 of them this year.

On average, you would expect to see about 275 wildfires burning about 1,000 acres between January and the third week in March.

Last year, the 400-square-mile Rim fire burned in August, September and October during a dry 2013.

This year, February rain and snow were above average in parts of California, and there were a few storms in March. But it won't be enough to hold back an early fire season, Cal Fire reported.

Chief Thom Porter, Cal Fire assistant southern region chief, said: "A recent fire in Monterey County charred 400 acres with extreme intensity, despite the humidity being above 80 percent."

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