Wildfires Remain a Concern Despite Wet, Cold Start to Winter


Climate change is a reality. Even after a cold and wet start to winter, many parts of California are facing potential extreme fire conditions.

With the idea of fire seasons rapidly evolving, it has become a yearly battle to prepare Californians for potential fire weather due to the ongoing drought and climate change.

Given that, the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) stresses the importance of being prepared before, during and after a disaster.

How to Prepare

  • Step One: Prepare your home with projects to reduce risk, like creating defensible space and hardening your home.
  • Step Two: Finalize your family emergency plan so they are ready if a wildfire threatens your home. Make and communicate an evacuation plan and prepare emergency supplies for each person in your household, including your pets.
    • Copies of identification and health insurance cards
    • Cash
    • Contact list
    • Maps of the region
    • Medicine and medical history documentation
    • Phone charger and batteries
    • First aid kit
  • Step Three: Californians need to know when to evacuate and what to do if they need to take shelter during a fire.

Winter Weather Wildfires

The possibility of wildfires breaking out depends on several factors such as temperature, soil moisture and the presence of trees, bushes and dry leaves that can generate combustion.

“If the area affected by the flames receives little rain in the fall, and the first snow of the year is of dry snow, the litter buried under the snow will be dry enough to be affected by a new outbreak of the flames,” said Cal OES Fire and Rescue Chief Brian Marshall.

In 2021 alone, several fires started during the month of May and continued until September. Two of the biggest fires in state history, the Dixie and Caldor fires both ignited in August. Some of the state’s recent devastating wildfires, specifically the Camp and Thomas fires, started in November and December, respectively.

As the ongoing drought persists and climate change provides excessive fuel, the year-long threat of wildfires is stretching far beyond what was once viewed as a seasonal concern, and there doesn’t appear to be any relief in sight.

For more on preparedness, visit the Ready California page on our website.


Additional resources:

Empowering Children in Disaster Preparedness – Youth Programs

Emergency Preparedness: Include Pets in Your Evacuation Plans