What does the 2018 fire season look like?

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Firefighters say they've already seen an increase in grass fires and are getting ready to take on what could be another busy year.

"I think it's going to be a long, hot, busy fire season," says Fresno Fire Department Public Information Officer Hector Vasquez.

A 25% increase in total fire calls and a 33% boost in the number of vegetation fires for the Fresno Fire Department so far this year.

"We did have a late rain season and vegetation is becoming overgrown at this point now with the warm weather coming it is going to dry it out and cause problems for us," Hector Vasquez says.

In a few weeks, crews will be attending wildland fire training to assist the county departments who deal with rural land, steep terrain, heavy brush and access issues.

Cal Fire Public Information Officer Jaime Williams says, "Even though we've had a lot of rainfall were still seeing effects from the drought so we've got a lot of tree mortality in our area which just contributes to the intensity and the spread of the fires."

Cal Fire covers Madera, Mariposa, and Merced counties. They've already hired 12 more firefighters and will be holding a live fire training burn next month.

Defensible space inspectors have also been visiting homes and enforcing codes, making sure people are cutting all grass, dead trees and clearing brush within a minimum of 100 feet of their home. They're also telling people to look under the decks and porches, and to clean out their gutters of pine needles and leaves, because there's no telling when disaster could strike.

"Fire season seems like it kind of has been a year-round phenomenon we responded to one of California's largest wildfires in December," says Jaime Williams.
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