The state firefighting agency today began hiring several hundred seasonal firefighters to staff fire stations from the Sacramento foothills to San Diego County.
"Even with the recent rain that we've had, it has not been enough to really make a dent in our drought conditionk" says Daniel Berlant with CalFire.
"Typically we start bringing on seasonal firefighters in Northern California around mid to late May, even some years into early June," says Berlant. "This early to have to bring on seasonals just shows us how dry conditions are."
Berlant says between January 1st and March 22nd of this year, CalFire has responded to more than 800 wildland blazes. In an average year, the agency responds to fewer than 275 over the same period. Berlant says CalFire will hire 75 additional seasonal firefighters in its Sacramento region and Bay Area units.
Record summer heat has increased fire risk in California and the Western U.S. as drought conditions expand.
Statewide water conservation exceeded the mandatory goal in May and Sacramento reduced water use 40 percent.
In the fourth year of drought in California, sales and use of "safe and sane" fireworks are restricted in some areas, allowed in others.
A California Assembly committee will hear a bill Wednesday that would allow water districts to impose taxes on any business, industry or person who wastes water.
The drought can be blamed for a number of problems and the latest is a major decline in the duck population. A new survey shows lack of rain has led to poor habitats.