With months of low rainfall and warm temperatures, another wildfire season has arrived early in Humboldt County.
“Rainfall for the 2020-21 water year has ranged from 50-70% of normal across Humboldt County,” said Ryan Aylward, Warning Coordination Meteorologist. “This, combined with below-normal rainfall during the 2019-2020 water year, has resulted in intensifying drought conditions throughout the county and greater concerns about wildfire, particularly across the interior."
Most wildfires are started by human activity. A wildfire ignition during these extremely dry conditions, especially when firefighting resources are stretched thin, could potentially spread quickly, threatening citizens’ lives, as well as homes, schools, and businesses. Residents can do their part to prevent fires by carefully stewarding burn piles and campfires, preventing sparks caused by dragging chains, and limiting lawn mowing and equipment use to the early mornings and evenings.
“Conditions in most of Humboldt County are receptive to ignition during these hot dry months. Just one spark could ignite the catastrophic wildfire we all worry about. Remember, one less spark is one less wildfire,” said Cybelle Immitt, with the Humboldt County Fire Safe Council. “The tragic and deadly Carr Fire in the Redding area was started by sparks from a flat tire on a trailer. With more vigilance, this could have been avoided.”
It is important to prepare now to help protect your loved ones and home during wildfire season. Managing vegetation near the home, as a part of defensible space, can help reduce wildfire exposures. It’s also essential to sign up for emergency notifications from Humboldt Alert and prepare a wildfire action plan in the event you need to evacuate.
Additionally, the odds that a home or business can survive a wildfire can be substantially improved through home hardening actions and building upgrades to resist ember, radiant heat, and direct flame contact exposures.
“These retrofits do not need to be costly, but they help a building survive when firefighter resources are spread thin. An ounce of prevention can help reduce wildfire exposures and save homes and lives,” stated Yana Valachovic, Forest Advisor with UC Cooperative Extension and member of the Humboldt County Fire Safe Council.
Below are helpful resources on how to be prepared and not scared during this wildfire season.
What you can do to prepare:
Helpful tips on how to prepare for Wildfire Season-Information on being prepared for wildfire season
Humboldt County Community Wildfire Protection Plan-Information for residents and community groups on how to prepare for the impacts of wildfire
Wildfire Preparation- Reducing fuels and creating defensible space from your residence
Preparing your Home for Wildfire-Helpful resources for homeowners in preparation for wildfire season
Fire Safety Resources-Resources on how you can better prepare yourself and your household for wildfire
Ways to be notified and stay connected during fire season:
Humboldt Alert-Receive emergency notifications about imminent threats to health and safety, such as the need to evacuate due to a wildfire, or to take other appropriate actions in the event of emergency situations.
National Weather Service-Provides current conditions, forecasts and weather warnings and advisories
Drought Monitor Conditions for California-Shows location and intensity of drought conditions across California
Humboldt County Fire Safe Council-Promotes fire-safe planning and coordination
For more information, contact:
Yana Valachovic (Wildfire preparation, home hardening, defensible space, vegetation management, fire safety resources)
Director, UC Cooperative Extension Humboldt County (Humboldt County Fire Safe Council (HCFSC) member
Ryan Derby (Wildfire preparedness, Humboldt Alert, evacuation planning)
Manager, Office of Emergency Services (HCFSC member)
Ryan Aylward (National Weather Service, drought monitor conditions)
Warning Coordination Meteorologist, NOAA/National Weather Service Eureka
Cybelle Immitt (Community wildfire protection plan, preparing homes for wildfire, fire safety resources, fire safe councils and Firewise communities)
Natural Resources Planning Manager, Public Works (HCFSC member)