CAL FIRE seeing more fires, but fewer acres burned on their incidents in 2021

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Fire season in California is in full swing, and while there have been more fires for CAL FIRE to respond to, there have been fewer acres burned on their incidents than last year.

"We're having more fires, but we're able to control them sooner," said Dan Urias, a battalion chief and public information officer with CAL FIRE.

That outlook only holds up if you aren't factoring in federal fires. A graphic released by CAL FIRE this week shows a massive jump in acres burned when you combine their incidents with federally managed fires, with fires on federal land burning 123,706 acres so far.

However, when you look specifically at CAL FIRE incidents, their acreage burned has decreased significantly compared to this time last year.

In 2020 through July 11, they had 3,645 fires that burned 32,886 acres. In 2021 through July 11, they've had 4,163 fires that burned 18,771 acres.

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CAL FIRE officials credit that drop in acreage to their "high dispatch" status, meaning they're deploying extra resources to all fire calls under their jurisdiction.

"Due to our high temperatures and drought conditions, we have to be at that high level just to maintain our mission of keeping 90% of fires 10 acres or less," Urias said.

The busy fire season is affecting the Fresno Fire Department too, with a high number of fires within the city keeping firefighters busy.

"It does seem like there's a lot going on this year," said Brad Driscoll, a battalion chief with the Fresno Fire Department. "Usually, we get a reprieve between Fourth of July and fire season, but now it seems like we went right from Fourth of July into fire season."

Both departments say they're staffed and ready as a very busy fire season continues.
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