Prolonged Warm, Dry Weather Signals Beginning of Wildfire Threat – Con Fire Officials Urging Property Owners to Take Steps Now
The Contra Costa County Fire Protection District (Con Fire) today announced the return to full responses for all grass, vegetation, and wildland fires across the District because of the early arrival of seasonal fire weather.
Full responses consist of a minimum of five firefighting apparatus and crews. Since December 2020, such responses had been reduced to a single engine based on the lessened threat during winter months.
A significant contributor to early arrival of fire weather is the current season rain total of 35-to 40% of the historically normal amount for this date. Late season storms have failed to provide significant rainfall in many weeks. Due to lack of moisture, grass and new brush growth has been stunted, but the fuels that are present across the District are uncharacteristically dry for this point in the season. Moreover, long-range weather forecasts predict average to slightly above average temperatures with little chance of measurable precipitation.
“Fire weather is once again upon us, earlier than in recent years, and seemingly more dangerous with fire behaviors normally not seen until July and August,” said Fire Chief Lewis T. Broschard III, Contra Costa County Fire Protection District. “I urge all residents to prepare for the possibility of wildfires now by practicing weed abatement and defensible space creation and reviewing plans for evacuation, should it become necessary.”
“Owner preparation of properties is the single most effective thing that can be done to save homes and businesses ahead of possible wildfires,” said Assistant Chief and Fire Marshal Chris Bachman. “Investment in fire safe preparation today can buy the time tomorrow for firefighters to arrive and protect structures from wildfire loss. The owner who abates weeds and creates defensible space can truly make a difference, which early season fires have already demonstrated.”
Con Fire is preparing for a significant wildfire season and urges all residents to do the same to protect their families, homes and neighbors. If not already done, now is the time to ensure properties meet or exceed all weed abatement and defensible space requirements. These are the single most important things property owners can do to ensure firefighters have the time to protect them from wildfires that may occur.
Detailed information on protecting homes and businesses from wildfire dangers, including weed abatement deadlines and preparing now for the possibility of evacuation can be found on the District’s website at www.cccfpd.org.
In addition to increasing response levels for all grass, vegetation and wildland fires, Con Fire is also adjusting staffing levels, including doubling to two its Crew 12 fire control worker teams, allowing for seven-day-per-week availability. Other changes include plans for up-staffing additional wildland fire engines and crews, addition of new Type 6 wildland fire engines and a new fire dozer to the fleet, and the availability since late last year of aerial firefighting capability provided by Con Air 1.