In northern California, fuels have modified a bit from recent shower activity in some areas, but heavier dead fuels remain near record dry levels, more typical of mid-June than late March. Snowpack is the lowest it has ever been at this time of year, less than ten percent of normal across the higher terrain. A robust grass crop in the valleys and foothills west of the Sierra Crest has greened up early in most areas. Green up of brush up to 5000 feet has begun which is about six to eight weeks ahead of schedule. For the southern half of California, annual grasses below 3,000 feet have already cured along the south facing slopes south of Point Conception. Elsewhere around the Area, grasses should be fully cured within the next two to three weeks. Energy Release Component values are well above normal in most areas. Live fuel moisture values have recently peaked, and are now starting to descend. Portions of California will likely see increased activity earlier than usual thanks to the dryness from the long term drought. Fire activity across the lower elevations of northern and southern California is expected to increase in the coming weeks, especially during periods of warm, dry, and windy weather.
CAL FIRE has suspended all open and permit required burning in the State Responsibility Areas of San Benito and Monterey Counties, effective Tuesday April 14, 2015.
With a fourth year of drought and continuous record breaking temperatures this winter, our wildland fire season situation on the Central Coast has unprecedented conditions.
Due to the current weather conditions and the suspension issued by Cal Fire all burning permits issued by Mid-Coast Fire Brigade are hereby suspended effective immediately.
In a press release issued to the media yesterday Cal Fire would like to remind homeowners that they are required to maintain 100 feet of defensible space around all structures on their property. Failure to comply with these requirements may result in a fine. In a joint message from the Fire Chiefs – “Our men and women are prepared for fire season. We now need the residents who live in our wildland areas and visitors to make sure they are.”
EXCERPTS FOR OUR AREA FROM PREDECTIVE FIRE SERVICES
Fuel Conditions and Fire Season Timing
Weather and Climate Outlooks
For May through July, above normal temperatures are expected to continue for Alaska and across the West.
Past Weather and Drought
Temperatures were much above normal for much of the West and extreme to exceptional drought remained over California.
Significant Wildland Fire Potential Outlook
– Above normal wildland fire potential will develop across portions of Southern California.
June through July
– Above normal wildland fire potential will expand to across the West Coast, part of the northern Rockies and Great Basin, and continue for most of Hawaii.
Northern California and Hawaii: Normal significant wildland fire potential is expected for April in Northern California and Hawaii. By early May plentiful grass in the lower elevations surrounding the Sacramento Valley should cure rapidly which should produce above normal significant wildland fire potential in these areas. Above normal potential will expand in June and July to include most areas, with the exception of far northeastern California where significant wildland fire potential will remain normal due to a lower-than-normal grass crop. Above normal significant wildland fire potential is expected for most of Hawaii from May through July. Only 20 to 50 percent of normal precipitation has been received over the Area during the previous three months. April should continue to be warmer- and drier-than-normal with any precipitation being more showery in nature. In between weather systems many days could record temperatures 10 to 15 degrees above normal. For Hawaii: Recent wet weather should minimize significant wildland fire potential in the short term for April but as a weak El Niño scenario unfolds, drought conditions could rapidly intensify. As a result, above normal significant wildland fire potential is expected across most areas from May through July.