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Wildfire danger is high this year

The indicators are subtle: lower than average rainfall, lower than average moisture content in grasses and brush, lower than average snow accumulation in the Sierras.

They add up to a higher than average danger of wildfire for the 2012 fire season, which began in mid-May and which is a special concern for forested communities such as Woodside and Portola Valley, said Fire Chief Dan Ghiorso of the Woodside Fire Protection District.

Firefighters from the district will be alerting the community between now and November on days when the danger is particularly high. White signs with red letters will go up in key locations visible from the road, he said.

The dry conditions this year have occurred five times over the last 40 years, and each time the number of wildfires was unusually high, Chief Ghiorso said.

The first five months of 2012 saw 1,577 fires, nearly twice as many as the 847 in 2011, according to the website of the California Department of Forestry Fire Protection. This year's count also exceeds the five-year average of 1,307 fires over those five months.

In exceptionally dry conditions, Cal Fire boosts its firefighting staff and redeploys its firefighting aircraft to strategic locations around the state.

"It only takes one little spark to ignite a wildfire," says a warning on Cal Fire's website.

The Woodside fire district is encouraging residents to participate in the annual summer brush chipper program.

Go to this link for more information, or contact Chief Ghiorso at dghiorso@woodsidefire.org or 851-1594.

Comments

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Posted by Ted
a resident of Atherton: other
on Jun 14, 2012 at 12:27 pm

Every year they tell us fire season is high. Too much rain lead to excessive dry fuels. Not enough rain, too dry conditions. Fortunately we enjoy perpetual damp forest conditions assisted by the fog lingering on the coastal hills that creeps in at night lowering the dew point. We may have our share of dry days, but not desert conditions similar so southern Ca. Teach fire safety and prevention but avoid the falling sky anologies.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jun 14, 2012 at 12:34 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

On a hot, dry day with winds blowing from the East a fire started by a cigarette thrown from a car on 280 could duplicate the Oakland Hills fire and run to the skyline ridge line in a few hours. The Eastern slope of skyline gets very little moisture from fog and certainly not enough to increase the moisture content of dried seasonal grasses and brush.


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