NORTH COAST, Calif. (KIEM) Wildfire season is nearing amid the extreme drought in our region. As a result of the lack of rainfall, experts say this fire season is shaping up to be one of the most challenging ever faced.
” We anticipate another challenging fire season this year unfortunately. We had a substantial lack of rainfall and currently air fuel conditions are representative of what we typically see in June even into July.” Said Josh Eichamer, Forest Fire Management Officer with the Six Rivers National Forest.
Typically, our wettest months of the season are October through March. It was a great start to the wet season with beneficial precipitation in October, November, and December. But it has been so dry in January, February, and March, that we are going to have a tough time making up for the dryness heading into fire season.
Chief Meteorologist at Redwood News, Dan Ramano explains, “It’s been the driest start to the calendar year on record since we have been keeping track for more than 136 years. In fact, here in Eureka we’ve seen three almost four inches of rain. We should be seeing over eighteen inches of rain dating back to January first. As temperatures ramp up, evaporation rates ramp up and because we just don’t have a lot of moisture in the soil to begin with, it’s only going to exacerbate the situation even more so. So, when temperatures climb, and we get into days where it’s really windy, you know we are talking about a lot of havoc for those fire fighters. Not only allowing fires to start but allowing these fires to spread quickly.”
The Six Rivers National Forest is taking steps to prepare for this upcoming fire season. One of the first steps they are taking is implementing prescribed fires. They are taking every opportunity to do hazardous fuel reduction treatments around the communities.
“We are working strategically with our partners and communities to try and increase the pace and scale of prescribed fires expeditionary to help balance the unwanted wildfires we have experienced in the summer. The reason for that is to help us reduce the impact of unwanted wildfires and create resilient communities.” Said Josh Eichamer, Forest Fire Management Officer with the Six Rivers National Forest.
There are resources the public can refer to, to get prepared and ready at readyforwildfire.org.