CalFire says it’s already responded to 300 wildfires this year, up from the 50 that would be normal for this time in a typical year. Now the agency is asking landowners to clear defensible space around homes months before they normally would.
Dave Zaski with the North Tahoe Fire Department says people need to be extra careful to avoid causing fires.
“We can’t do anything about lightning," he said. "But the most damaging fires are human caused, like the Rim Fire, where they had a camp ground fire when they shouldn’t have had.”
Zaski said the region has already seen a wild land fire on the Nevada side of the lake. He says that’s unusual because the fire was at an elevation of 7,000 feet.
UPDATE June 26: Fire managers says the Erskine Fire near Lake Isabella in Kern County has grown to 36,810 acres and is 10 percent contained. Two people have died, at least 150 structures have been destroyed and an additional 75 damaged.
Four consecutive years of drought, millions of dead trees and summer heat, are all factors as thousands of firefighters work to control wildfires in California.
Not much change is expected in drought conditions in California during the summer "dry season" but wildfire danger is increasing, with 66 million dead trees in the Sierra Nevada adding potential fuel.
Any hope of a wet winter dousing California’s fire season is quickly going up in flames.
The U.S. Forest Service says 66 million trees are dead in the Sierra Nevada after four consecutive years of drought in California and a bark beetle infestation.