Fire Season

The 2017 fire season was the nation’s costliest, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which houses the Forest Service. That agency’s annual budget is increasingly dedicated to suppressing and fighting wildland fires, as longer seasons and more destructive blazes require more resources. Millions of acres have burned in the West this year, mostly in California, Montana and Oregon. Some of the West’s biggest fires began in September, at a time when the fire season is typically waning. But by mid-September, California had declared the first of several states of emergency, when blazes threatened giant sequoias in Yosemite National Park. Nowhere were fires more intense than in Montana, where more than 1.2 million acres burned. In Oregon, the Eagle Creek Fire tore through the Columbia River Gorge. With long-term climate trends portending more frequent droughts, this kind of severe and expensive fire season is more likely to become the norm. According to the National Interagency Fire Center’s most recent wildfire potential outlook report, it’s not over, either: Southern California should see higher than normal wildfire activity well into 2018.

For the rest of this article, and to see the statistics go to:

Getting ready to make the switchover from winter weather watching to summer fire season. I will be leaving my weather links up for a bit, yet, but wildfires are happening in So Cal and in Colorado and other states a bit early this year, so will be adding in a few of those links as well.


Be ever Vigilant

And …

06/27/2015 10:42 LPF-1774

ILLEGAL CAMPFIRE Wildfire 2 MI EAST NACIMENTO RD . . . . . 35.991 x 121.494

Yet another abandoned campfire. PLEASE people! This is an example of why some of us lose our patience with some tourists.

06/26/2015 17:07 LPF-1762

New Wildfire PREWITT RDG & CG M . . . . . 35.971 x 121.451

Fire Season Starts tomorrow, 4/13


Fire season starts tomorrow. The Los Padres National Forest, the Santa Barbara County Fire Department, and CAL FIRE of San Luis Obispo are all increasing their staffing levels and equipment.

Firefighters say a fourth year of drought and record-breaking heat has created fire conditions they’ve never seen before, and they expect this dire season to be a challenging one. They say if a fire sparks, it has plenty of fuel because of dry vegetation.

With the start of fire season also comes some burn restrictions. Spark arresters are required on all off-highway vehicles A permit is required for all welding, grinding, cutting, and use of explosives. Fireworks are prohibited and burn permits are required where burning is allowed.

Upcoming fire season

From Cheryl Goetz, Fire Chief, Mid-Coast Fire Brigade

Last week I attended the Annual Pre-Fire Season meeting and it was enlightening on how serious of a threat the United States Forest Service and Cal Fire are anticipating. Both agencies related that the conditions of this year have set us up for a repeat of the 2008 fire year (Basin Fire) with multiple large fire burning across the state and competing for limited resources. Cal Fire has already staffed engines and brought air tankers on contract which is unprecedented.

Fire Danger: 1,040 fires have been reported across the state since January 1, burning 2,393 acres.
This year’s fire activity is well above the year-to-date average of 428 wildfires, burning 1,179 acres.
87 new wildfires were reported over the past week, most of which were kept small due to additional firefighters, fire engines and firefighting aircraft added during this dry winter.


As you will note from the above graph (the Rim fire was still in progress, and eventually ended up in the number one spot for largest fire in CA history) three of the largest fires were started by lightning in June of 2008, including our own Basin Fire.

2013 Fire Season

You might notice, I have changed out the weather links for fire season links. It may be early, as there is the possibility of rain coming, but considering a Red Flag warning was issued for today in the east Bay hills, and Cal Fire is reporting 600 wildfires so far this season, when 200 is normal, I thought we should all be paying attention. Last time I checked the weather, it was reported that there was the possibility of thunder for the upcoming storm, and if one remembers, the Basin Fire was started on 6/21/08 by lightning.

USFS Los Padres District enters high response mode

Guess it is time to change over from my winter weather watch to summer fire watch links on the right. Will try to get to that ASAP, but hard to think fire at the moment, unless it is a fire in my wood stove! (It was in the 30’s last night)

Date: May 23, 2012 Los Padres National Forest
6755 Hollister Ave. #150
CONTACT: Andrew Madsen (805) 961-5759

Los Padres Implements High Response for Declared Fire Season

GOLETA, CA…Los Padres National Forest officials announced that wildland firefighters will transition into a “high response” posture beginning May 25 in conjunction with the declared start to fire season. This action is based on low plant moisture levels and increasingly dry conditions across the Central Coast and inland regions. The Forest Service is adopting this heightened posture along with fire departments throughout the local area.

“This past winter and spring saw below average rainfall, and with a hot summer ahead of us we need to take precautions against wildfire starts,” said Los Padres Forest Supervisor Peggy Hernandez. “Our fire staff is shifting to high response and we’ll be prepared for whatever the (fire) season brings.”

As seasonal fire staff report for duty, suppression resources will reach full capacity. The Reload Base at Santa Maria Airport will have full-time staffing throughout fire season. Although Santa Maria is not a Tanker Base, the Forest Service will request air tanker support through national federal emergency managers in the event of a large fire. Full staffing at the Reload Base will ensure that whenever national or Cal Fire air assets are available, the Forest Service will ensure retardant is efficiently reloaded onto the aircraft.

“The Reload Base at Santa Maria is a force multiplier for the Forest and the community,” said Los Padres Fire & Aviation Chief Anthony Escobar. “The retardant loading operation is based on a quick turnaround. It’s ready to go whenever it’s needed and tankers are on-site.”

Forest officials estimate that Level II fire restrictions will take effect next month, and visitors are reminded to exercise caution when enjoying recreation activities in Los Padres.

For more information, visit the Forest website at

Fire Restrictions

I did not get an “official” notice from the USFS, but signs were posted down here in the Silver Peak Wilderness Area today. It has been incredibly hot, very low humidity, so I am not surprised.

And now, for tonight’s sunset:
That’s the long view. Here’s the close up:
Have a blessed week, everyone!