Fire danger still high in foothills
For more information online:
• Fire safety tips can be found at www.fire.ca.gov.
• Full version of the Northern California Monthly Outlook: http://gacc.nifc.gov/ oncc/predictive/outlooks/monthly_outlook.pdf.
The smoke from four wildfires has finally cleared the skies above Colusa County, but the onset of autumn has felt a lot like the dead of summer.
So while a good portion of the county's western foothills have been blackened, CalFire officials are warning that the wildfire threat due to extreme dry conditions still exists.
High temperatures, low rainfall and dry conditions have combined to create the potential for large fires in many parts of the state.
"California has already experienced a significant increase in fire activity this year," Chief Ken Pimlott, CalFire director, said in a statement. "CalFire crews remain prepared to respond to wildfires, but we are asking the public to take steps to help prevent fires during this unusually dry fall."
CalFire has responded to more than 5,300 wildfires — 1,300 more than last year and nearly 20 percent more than average.
From these fires nearly 130,000 acres burned, which is 75,000 more than last year.
Four of those fires, and 58,400 acres, have been in Colusa County — although 29.500 of those burned in the Mill Fire, which was not under CalFire jurisdiction.
That fire started on July 7 in the Mendocino National Forest and spread dangerously close to a number of homes in the Stonyford area. The next day, the five-fire Sites blaze started just east of the Mill Fire. This one was a CalFire event and burned about 4,000 acres. No structures were lost.
On Aug. 12, two fires — originally identified as the Walker Ridge and Wye blazes — started along Highway 20 in Lake County, just west of Colusa County.
Eventually the event would come under the single Wye title, and claimed two homes in Lake County.
The Sixteen Complex Fire started along Highway 16 south of Highway 20 near Rumsey on Sept. 4. No structures were lost in the fire, which claimed 17,900 acres and threatened homes in the Cortina Rancheria southwest of Williams.
Historically, California experiences it's largest and most damaging wildfires in the late fall months.
CalFire is asking all residents to ensure they are prepared for wildfires with a wildfire action plan that includes an evacuation plan.
"Unfortunately many evacuees don't prepare what to take and where to go, and it's often too late to remember those items when a wildfire strikes," CalFire authorities stated.