Wildfires are still a concern, but for the first time in three years, no part of California is in a drought.
The California Drought Monitor, which looks at conditions statewide, provided the update earlier this week. Just one year ago, 17% of the state was in an “exceptional drought” (the worst category) and virtually all of California was in some degree of drought.
About 6% of the state, largely in the upper part of California and an area of the Southeast are still listed as “abnormally dry” but that’s a category below drought designation.
The good news for farmers and residents in wildfire-prone ares comes as the Farmer’s Almanac is predicting a cooler, wetter than normal winter for California, with above-normal snow levels, which will help future drought threats.
The lack of a drought doesn’t mean the state is out from under the threat of wildfires, however. Explosive plant growth from the winter moisture is starting to dry out, making the wildflowers and grass potential kindling. (The state has even brought in goats to help clear out some of the bush.)
Wet winters have brought about historic fires in the past, including the Camp Fire that tore through the state’s wine region. The winter of 2016-2017 brought much of the state 30% to 50% more snow and rain than average. Blazes across the state burned 1.5 million acres in 2017, more than double the year before.
The National Interagency Fire Center notes, however, that at present there is little to low risk of fires at present across the state.
Just last week, however, thousands of people were evacuated as a four-square mile wildfire hit the southern part of the state.