Fire season normally starts sometime from mid May to early June dependent on weather conditions. Typically the season will run until sufficient rain has occurred to substantially lower the fire danger, somewhere from mid October to early November. During this period it is vitally important to use great care in avoiding all activity and circumstances that could cause structure or wildland fire. Preparatory to fire season you should clean up your property; clearing brush, limbing up trees, raking up and removing leaves and pine needles, and cutting weeds and grasses. Early in fire season limited burning is sometimes allowed when it’s safe to do so. This is normally during the month of June and times are usually from 6 PM until midnight.
Burn Day status
Use this period to cut the weeds and grasses grown up from the winter rains, and either burn them or otherwise safely get rid of them. Fire seasons will typically begin with lower levels of fire danger (moderate to high) and will progress to higher levels (high to extreme). As time passes the fuels (brush, grass, weeds and trees) become dryer and will burn more readily. During this progression relative humidity decreases. Also, dry weather systems will move through the area tending to produce periods of increasing pressure gradients and high winds. When this occurs, “Red Flag Warnings” are posted and fire dangers are extreme. This latter part of fire season is the most dangerous and can begin as early as mid to late August.
During fire season it is wise to monitor fire related radio “traffic” (communications) on a scanner. Your Ranger Unit’s “Local Net” can provide you with information about fire activity in your area and fire weather forecasts. Fire weather forecasts can also be found on the internet at:
Red Flag weather
General Fire information
Radio and TV weather reports will also address “Red Flag Warnings.” When “Red Flag” conditions are anticipated fire weather forecasts on CDF local nets will refer to a “Red Flag Watch” and the days/times the conditions are expected. On Forest Service nets forecasts will refer to a “Banner.” When “Red Flag” conditions are anticipated (a “Red Flag Watch”) a forewarning can give you time to make doubly sure that your home and property are as fire safe as possible. When the “Red Flag Warning” is set you should disconnect all outdoor power cords and refrain from all activity that could start a fire. If you are going to be away from home disconnect all electrical equipment that you can (newer electronic equipment is never fully off, some control circuitry is always energized). Also it may be wise to close up your home and out buildings as if a fire were approaching since you won’t be there to do it if one starts while you are gone.
CDF Fire Season Information
During fire season, the CDF will post updated information here: http://www.fire.ca.gov/php/fire_er_2005fs.php