A seasonal burn ban will take effect Monday throughout the North Bay — a sign that wildfire season is upon us and conditions are quickly growing dry.
The rainy season left abundant grasses around the region, creating fuels that pose a risk if exposed to a stray flame or even a spark, officials said.
Bans on burning vegetation and other debris already are in place in several areas of the state.
The burn ban announced Thursday covers all areas in Sonoma, Lake, Napa, Marin, Solano, Yolo and Colusa counties under state responsibility.
Sonoma County and neighboring counties have scarcely begun to recover from devastating fires that last fall torched 137 square miles in Sonoma County alone, so the arrival of a new fire season is harsh news.
But already this year, Cal Fire crews have responded to more than 1,860 wildfires, including one still burning at the edge of the Mendocino National Forest in Glenn County. The fire has scorched 2,290 acres since it started last weekend.
“This year is turning out to be just as volatile as last year,” Cal Fire Chief Ken Pimlott said in a news release. “The public cannot let their guard down and must continue to be involved in preparation effort for the upcoming wildfires.”
Fire officials urged residents to prepare for the season, clearing dead or dying vegetation within 100 feet of structures and landscaping with fire-resistant plants or nonflammable ground cover. And they recommend residents plan for evacuations, should they be needed.
Sonoma-Lake-Napa Unit Chief Shana Jones also warned against mowing on hot and dry days, when sparks could be produced and ignite a fire.
More information on defensible space and fire prevention is available online.
You can reach Staff Writer Mary Callahan at 707-521-5249 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @MaryCallahanB.