Early fire season a concern as Valley temperatures increase

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- With Central California reaching near-record temperatures, fire officials are preparing to start weed clearing ahead of the dangerous wildfire season.

Action News Chief Meteorologist Kevin Musso says that trees and other plant life are stressed as we enter our third consecutive year of drought.

We've also seen little rain, periods of strong winds and now high temperatures.

It's a perfect recipe to dry out grass fields, which CAL FIRE Atwater City Fire Battalion Chief Robert Ayuso says is an indicator that fire season is near.

"They tend to spark pretty quickly and we have fast-running vegetation fires that we're unable to get ahead of because of the heat, humidities and that sort of thing," he said.

CAL FIRE is warning residents to be proactive when it comes to being fire ready. They hope to see the public out plowing and mowing fields.

"As citizens of the state of California, if we can all team up and maintain our properties, it will definitely reduce the risk and hazard of a high-fire hazard in the area," Ayuso said.

Merced Fire Department's Chief Derek Parker says whether you live in rural communities or the city, be aware of your surroundings.

"What is next to your house? What is readily available to burn? It may be cardboard stacks, it may be dead dry grass. But keeping a good clear area that is not just reserved for being in the foothills," he said.

Merced's fire crews are also preparing for wildfire season with refresher training on using newer equipment in high temperatures.

They are even educating the public using social media.

"Social media has been great for us," Parker said. "We've been able to go out and message what to do, but also what not to do."

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