As part of California's Wildfire Preparedness Week, Cal Fire and Cal OES were in the East Bay Monday to warn residents that peak of wildfire season is arriving earlier this year.
The agencies, which held a press conference in Orinda, say more equipment, more firefighters and more technology will be in place to fight what may be another summer of mega fires.
If last year’s fire season was marked by the pandemic, Cal Fire fears the challenge this year will be the drought.
"We are seeing conditions right now this year that are a month or two down the road," Cal Fire Chief Thom Porter said.
The agency warns Northern California is descending into a deep drought, which could make this wildfire season more destructive than last year.
The state is shelling out $150 million in grants to thin out fire-fueling vegetation such as dying pine trees. Cal Fire is using emergency funding to hire thousands of firefighters this season.
Cal Fire and Cal OES kicked off Wildfire Preparedness Week by urging homeowners to harden their homes against dangerous embers spread by wildfires.
Due to this year’s dry conditions, the Moraga-Orinda Fire District pushed their vegetation abatement deadline two weeks earlier, giving homeowners less time to remove dead brush from their property.
In addition to drought, Chief Porter worries the risk of human-caused wildfires will go up as coronavirus restrictions loosen up and people start to go out more.
"People are really starting to come out, do more things outdoors, do more things in a congregate setting outdoors, that just means there’s more chances for a spark to occur," he said.