After a cool start, temperatures are beginning to rise as summer comes full throttle to California.

As the state remains hopeful that the record-setting wet season in the winter will buffer the likelihood of devastating fires, the reality is, the wet-season fueled vegetation growth exponentially, and as experts predict high temperatures this summer, the combination of  heat and more vegetation than previous years has lead to concern over a problematic fire season.

According to the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), higher temperatures and the drop in humidity leads to the evaporation of moisture from vegetation and the soil, and turns trees and grass into kindling. Furthermore, prior to the recent wet-season, California experienced a long drought that weakened trees making them more susceptible to burning.

However, there is good news. The authorities have noted that 2023 is having the mildest start to fire season in 10 years.

Data from the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) shows a 10-year comparison of acres burned by early July in the United States. This year, we experienced the lowest number of acres burned in fires by early July in that 10-year range.

  • Total number of acres burned in the US by July 2023 – 731,000 acres
  • Total number of acres burned in the US by July 2022 – 4,845,027 acres

In addition, the data shows that acres burned in the US by July 2023 was significantly lower with 731,000 acres, compared to the 10-year average of 2,591,523 acres.

For California, data from Cal Fire shows that again, in 2023, only 10,459 acres burned by July, compared to 25,422 in 2022. In addition, this year has been the lowest in a 5-year average of 69,211.

News like this is a relief for California that remains one of the US states most vulnerable to wildfires. However, as temperatures continue to rise, authorities urge residents to practice caution and continue to prepare themselves and loved ones in the event of a fire.

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