Extensive winter rain likely to heighten wildfire risk in California

The Fairview Fire burns on a hillside near an orange grove Thursday, Sept. 8, 2022, near Hemet, Calif. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)


(KSWB) – While relentless precipitation across California has eased some of the state’s most concerning environmental conditions, the risk of wildfires along the western coast is likely to increase for residents moving into the dry season.

Because of the recent storms, much of the vegetation that had stunted growth over the last few years due to extreme drought has been replenished, but according to experts, this flush could become the perfect tinder for fast-moving wildfires as the plants dry out in the months ahead.

“When you build up your vegetation to those levels, the fire risk goes up. Just logically, there’s more to burn,” said Dr. Chris Potter, an ecologist with the Earth Sciences Division at NASA’s Ames Research Center. “That’s sort of the downside for our wet years.”