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Despite Recent Rains, California Faces Brutal Fire Season

Ringo H.W. Chiu / AP

A firefighter douses the grass with water along a hillside on a wildfire in Azusa, Calif., Monday, June 20, 2016. Police in the city of Azusa and parts of Duarte ordered hundreds of homes evacuated. Others were under voluntary evacuations.

Ringo H.W. Chiu / AP

Any hope of a wet winter dousing California’s fire season is quickly going up in flames.

It seems that California just can’t catch a break. Sure, the state got its highest precipitation in years – at a critical time.

But “for the brush and trees,“ says CAL FIRE's Daniel Berlant, “the amount of rain we received this winter was not enough to really make up for the now five years of lack of rainfall.”

The rain and snow created lush, green grass – but that grass at lower elevations has already died off.

“So it’s able to burn,“ Berlant says. “And we’ve seen several very large fires – especially down in the Central Coast area, and in parts of Southern California, where these fires – with a little bit of wind – have been able to burn very quickly for the month of June.”

Berlant says the precipitation neither slowed the drought nor decreased fire activity.

”We’re seeing activity for our fires that would typically be reserved further into the year,” he says.

Since January 1, CAL FIRE says more than 2,000 different wildfires have burned nearly 33,000 acres.