Understanding fire science and fire behavior will help you better prepare your home and your family for wildfire. It’s not a question of “if” a wildfire will impact Yolo County, but rather “when” and how prepared a home can be when fire strikes.

Fires in California are Changing

Fires in California are hotter and more destructive than ever before. The typical fire season in California is from June through October. With changing conditions, a longer, sometimes year-round fire season is the new normal. 

Experts point to rising fuel loads in wildland areas due to historic fire suppression as well as climate change, and rising populations in the wildland-urban interface as the cause of increased fire intensity and activity in the state. The increase in fuel loads in wildlands is often blamed on the 1910 decision by the U.S. Forest Service to implement a fire suppression program. However, climate change is also to blame for extreme wildfires. With rising temperatures and decreasing rainfall, fuels in California are drier. Pair those conditions with record-breaking heat waves, fuels in wildland areas are becoming very dry and highly combustible. 

One Less Spark, One Less Wildfire

According to CAL FIRE, between 95% to 97% of wildfires are caused by human sources. A wildfire only needs one spark to ignite. Follow these tips to avoid sparks:

Secure all chains.

Practice safe towing. Dragging chains throws sparks. Use appropriate safety pins and hitch balls to secure chains.

Properly dispose of cigarette butts.

CAL FIRE responds to 47 wildfires per year that are caused by cigarettes igniting vegetation. Always properly dispose of cigarettes and never toss them on the ground, especially in wildlands.

Monitor all fires including grills.

Whether its a campfire, burn pile, or a grill, never leave a fire unattended. Always set up fires away from overhanging vegetation on stable, bare ground. Before leaving, be sure your fire is fully extinguished.

Keep vehicles out of tall grass.

Hot tailpipes can ignite dry grass and vegetation. Be sure to park and operate vehicles and UTVs on bare dirt (or install spark arrestors).

Don’t purchase/light illegal fireworks.

Only use “safe and sane fireworks” that don’t explode, fly, or move erratically on the ground. Always check local ordinances for lawful use of fireworks.

Know When to Mow & Other Equipment Safety

When mowing, choose the cooler morning hours before 10am and avoid windy or dry conditions. Remember, lawn mowers are for lawns, not for dry weeds or grass, as metal blades can spark fires when hitting rocks. Use caution