California drought making wildfires a year-round threat

Mar 17, 2015 3:40 PM by News Staff

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - The drought has meant bigger and more dangerous winter wildfires for California.

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection says winter wildfires so far this year have burned 3,200 acres in its jurisdiction. That compares to 800 acres by this point in an average year.

CalFire fire chief Ken Pimlott says the now four-year drought is changing the dynamic for state firefighters. The forestry department says it has kept more seasonal firefighters on duty this winter than ever.

Pimlott says the state will go to peak firefighter staffing for wildfires four- to six weeks earlier than normal this year. The state also is planning to again ramp up the total number of firefighters and aircraft.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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