Cal Fire Warns: Most California Wildfires Are Sparked By People - NBC Bay Area

Cal Fire Warns: Most California Wildfires Are Sparked By People

Cal Fire said many unintentional brush fires are started by cars, cigarettes and fireworks

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Cal Fire Warns: Most CA Wildfires Are Sparked By People

    More than 196,092 acres in California have burned since January 1. (Published Wednesday, July 11, 2018)

    According to Cal Fire, 95 percent of wildfires in California are sparked by humans in one way or another. 

    Whether it be arson, or more commonly, an unintentional spark, Cal Fire warns this year is worse than the last few. 

    Most of the brush fires started are accidental," said Isaac Sanchez, fire captain and public information officer for Cal Fire. "We're talking about car accidents or defensible space clearance at the wrong time of day. It's common that hot material will blow out of the exhaust system of a car." Other causes can be cigarette butts and fireworks. 

    In terms of acres burned, the state is in worse condition than it has been for the previous five years. More than 196,092 acres in California have burned since January 1. 

    Cal Fire said the reason for the uptick in wildfires is unclear, as the cause of the first spark can never be predicted. 

    "We don't know whether or not we're going to get the ignitions," said Sanchez. "We know fires will happen but we can't predict where or when it is going to happen." 

    With the warm weather not helping things, fire safety experts said Wednesday it is crucial to have defensible space around homes and keep an evacuation bag ready with clothing, medications, and important documents like birth certificates. Sometimes evacuees only have a few minutes to get out of their homes.