Wet weather causing fire officials to be concerned of future fire hazards

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The wettest winter in several years has rivers and streams flowing at full speed. Just above those water ways are hills and mountains that haven't been green in a long time. (KFSN)

The wettest winter in several years has rivers and streams flowing at full speed. Just above those water ways are hills and mountains that haven't been green in a long time.

Jeremiah Wittwer with Fresno County Cal Fire said that grass is thick and strong and when it dries out it will create a major fire hazard with vegetation that never survived the drought.

"That grass is going to carry into the brush and that brush is going to carry into the trees and we are going to have a little more intensity with fires and just to cause it to spread."

Wittwer said Cal Fire has crews working to remove as many dead trees as they can before conditions dry out in the summer. But recent storms with strong winds have been knocking over tree branches putting firefighters in dangerous conditions.

"We've got about 40 personnel daily working out on the tree mortality and you know anytime these trees are weaken by the wind or these storms our crews are around there working."

Fire crews are still in a battle with the bark beetle that took hold during the past five years of drought. Wittwer said storms this winter were not cold enough to kill off the infestation.

"We really didn't get a deep enough freeze to kill off the bark beetle. It is not something that, you know, is going to happen overnight. I think we're going to deal with these issues the next few years."

Wittwer said each time it rains fire season is only pushed back a week and that's giving the grass more time to grown creating more fuel for fire season.

"You'll start seeing some of our spring showers that we get, some of the grass starts to die off and then we will get another crop of green grass again. And it is making it thicker, making it taller."

Cal Fire has inspectors out letting homeowners know that they need to clear vegetation around their property that range from 30 to 100 feet.
Related Topics:
newsfirefresno countyrain
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