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.
A new study shows fire-fighting foam containing highly fluorinated chemicals is contaminating drinking water supplies around many of the nation's military bases, airports and industrial sites.
It has been a busy fire season across California. But there are fewer fires in the state’s 18 U.S. national forests so far this year, compared to 2015.
Update 8:00 p.m. Sunday: Crews are making "good progress" on the Cold Fire in Yolo County, now at 60% containment. In Monterey County, the Soberanes Fire remains at 45% containment with wind creating an additional challenge for firefighters.
The Soberanes Fire near Big Sur is burning in a rugged area that hasn't "seen fire in decades." The wildfire is 45 percent contained at 57,500 acres.
The number of acres burned by wildfires in the U.S. is about average for this time of year. But, in California, the 'new normal' includes larger and more frequent wildfires.