news and events » news

News Header

News Item

return to News

Wildfire burning in Northern California the result of vegetation drying out

by Amy Graff, San Francisco Chronicle |

A wildfire burning 100 miles north of Sacramento has spread to 50 acres and was 20 percent contained as of Monday night.

The Grizzly Fire started March 2 in the Grizzly Flat Recreation Area near Black Butte Lake off Interstate 5 in Glenn County.

"Hopefully things improved overnight," said Cal Fire spokesman Scott McLean. "We'll find out this morning."

At this time last year, Cal Fire had responded to 105 wildfires and measured 81 acres burned since Jan. 1. This year, there have been 381 responses and 249 acres burned since the start of the year.

"Looking at the weather conditions we've been dealing with this month, it's to be expected," said McLean. "But historically and what we should be looking at, it's not common. What's today's temperature going to be today: 80 degrees in the north state. It's supposed to be a record-setting day."

McLean said another blaze burning in Mendocino County is especially unusual because it's a timber fire and not consuming only grass. The Baseball Fire had burned 211 acres and was 90 percent contained as of Tuesday morning.

"We saw another 100 fires this week," said McLean. "We still are responding to a lot of small wildfires. As long as we have this wind and the consistent heat during the day, that's going to keep those moisture levels down. Hopefully predictions are true and we get a decent amount of rain this weekend."

Northern California hasn't seen significant rain since January so vegetation is beginning to dry out in the middle of winter. The National Weather Service office in Sacramento said the average high temperature in February in Sacramento was the warmest on record.

"We're going to need quite a bit of moisture to bring us back," said McLean. "A lot of rain in March and April."