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Santa Rosa declares early start to fire season

The Santa Rosa Fire Department has declared Monday, May 17, as the official start date of this year’s wildfire season.

The department set the date following several days of red flag warning conditions just outside the city in the North Bay mountains in combination with recent local hot, dry weather.

The season is starting “significantly earlier than normal” because of severe drought conditions locally and throughout the state, according to a fire department news release.

Santa Rosa fire officials are asking residents — especially those who live within or near the Wildland Urban Interface Area — to prepare their properties and update their emergency plans.

“Since 2017, our community has experienced several damaging and even deadly wildfires,” said Fire Chief Scott Westrope. “We’re now faced with drought conditions and the potential for another long and significant fire season. I ask that the community please take the appropriate measures to protect your home and your property this fire season.”

The department will also initiate annual weed abatement inspections beginning after May 17.

Virtual Wildfire Ready community workshops will start May 24.

Topics include historical and scientific wildfire education and tips for preparing your home and property. Recordings will be made available in both English and Spanish.

Go to srcity.org/WildfireReady to see the full schedule and for more information.

You can reach Staff Writer Kathleen Coates at kathleen.coates@pressdemocrat.com.

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