Santa Barbara County Fire officials anticipate fire season to ramp up in August, into the fall

Fire season 2019 update

Santa Barbara County Fire officials anticipate fire season to ramp up in August, into the fall

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - By this time last year, we had already experienced several serious fires in the region.

The one year anniversary of the Holiday Fire was just observed earlier this week. 

Santa Barbara firefighters have been conducting defensible space inspections over the past month which is important because a new report indicates that our wet spring may have caused seasonable grass and fuel to sprout at a record rate. 

With warmer temps on the way, firefighters are shedding a light on where we're at with 2019’s fire season.

In order to have a significant fire, you need three variables in action.

“High temperatures, low humidities, and high winds,” explains Santa Barbara County Fire Public Information Officer Captain Daniel Bertucelli.

The region is bracing for a heat wave this weekend but the wind will be missing from the equation. 

“The reason why it seems like it’s going to be so hot this weekend is because we had a below average summer so far,” said Bertucelli.

If you’re thinking back to this time last year, you’re not alone.

“We’ve all noticed that it’s been a slow start to this fire season, said Bertucelli.

Bertucelli points to our abnormally wet spring. “We had a very wet May as far as May’s go and that allowed us to keep the fuel moisture low,” he says.  

However, officials say that will change as the summer progresses and the ground starts to dry out.

“We do anticipate fire season really kicking up in August and into the fall when the Santa Ana season kicks off. That’s when Southern California really starts to have their larger fires,” said Bertucelli.

Firefighters will be ready, working closely with the National Weather Service and the Office of Emergency Management to monitor conditions. 

Officials are also asking folks to remain vigilant and be familiar with the “Ready, Set, Go” program.

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