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California wildfires burned 96% fewer acres compared to last year

Firefighters urge vigilance
Posted at 9:49 PM, Aug 24, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-25 12:31:19-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - A new report released by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection states wildfire acreage burned in 2019 is down 96% compared to 2018.

Stating from January to August in 2018, 621,784 acres burned. In 2019, only 24,579 acres scorched during the same time period.

On top of this, the U.S. Drought Monitor released a report Thursday showing most of California is out of the drought. San Diego is the only county fully highlighted in yellow, indicating it is 'Abnormally Dry'.

A very stark contrast to 2018, where most of the map is covered in dark shades of drought. In August of 2018 San Diego was labeled in 'Severe Drought'.

While the winter rain cured California's drought, it brought a new problem to firefighters. Tall weeds, and new growth act as kindling, launching fires, according to Cal Fire Captain Thomas Shoots.

So we're not out of the woods.

Historically San Diego has had some of it's biggest fires in the Fall and Winter, whipped up by Santa Ana winds.

"Our fuels are going to continue to dry out an we're not going to be getting rain for quite a while longer so even though we've had the marine layer sticking in and that's really helped us, in the long run those heavy rains that we need, we're probably not going to see for several months," he said. "Late October is usually when we see the Santa Ana winds. We are expecting our normal winds this year. We still have an above average fire potential for San Diego for October and November."

Shoots said neighbors must stay vigilant, and create defensible space around their home.

"I think it's important for everyone to remember most fires are human caused," he said.