Leaders of fire response agencies from across the state gathered in Redding Tuesday afternoon. Their goal was to spread awareness about the risks wildfire presents to the north state in this especially dry year.
Wildfire awareness week usually happens prior to fire season, but this time the warning comes after fire season has already started.
While a fire season can't be predicted, all signs indicate this year's will be bad.
“We are seeing flammability if you will, of the vegetation, to be at a level we have not seen in many many many years,” said Chief Ken Pimlott, the Director of Cal Fire
Conditions are similar to those experienced in 2008, when fires burned almost constantly from May through August.
“Could we experience that, sure, will we experience that, I don’t know,” said Arlen Craven, acting Deputy Director of the fire and aviation section of the U.S. Forest Service.
Fire agencies, CAL-EMA , and the National Guard are among those gearing up for the long haul.
“We sit maintained and prepared and ready to provide our capabilities for the firefighting effort for 2013,” said Colonel Jeff Smiley of the California National Guard.
In light of what we could we could experience, officials are preaching prevention.
“94% of fires are started by people. That means we can prevent 94% of the fires that occur,” said Chief Pimlott.
Cal Fire's staffing is ahead of schedule, but residents are running behind creating defensible space around their homes.
“It’s also vitally important to protect the fire fighters to provide for their safety,” said Craven.
Officials say the best time to prepare for wildfire has already passed, but they urge a trip to readyforwildfire.org.
“We don’t know where or how many fires will start, we don’t know what the weather conditions will look like all summer,” said Pimlott.
What they do know is the more people ready now, the less destruction Californians will see later.