Weather plays a significant role in wildfire risk and behavior. For that reason, we keep a close watch on current weather conditions and forecasts.
Fire behavior is controlled by three interacting components: fuels, weather, and topography. Fuels provide the energy source for fire. Fuel availability, which depends on both fuel arrangement and fuel moisture, determines if fires will burn as ground, surface, or crown fires.
Weather elements, such as temperature, relative humidity, wind, precipitation, and atmospheric stability, also combine to influence fire behavior by regulating fuel moisture and rate of spread.
Topography can influence fire indirectly, by mediating wind patterns, or directly- fires burning upslope spread faster than fire burning on flat land.
Years of fire suppression and a lack of forest management on public lands has led to dangerous fuel build-ups and catastrophic wildfires outside their natural balance.
According to the California Legislative Analyst’s Office, CalFire’s wildland firefighting expenditures have risen from $331 million in 1989–90 to $1 billion in 2009–10.
This is a preventable situation. Only through active forest management can we stop catastrophic wildfire and the devastating effects it has on our ecosystems.