Environment & Science

Fire official: Orange County vegetation is dry, meaning danger

File: A ball comes to rest in the sun parched grass during the second round of the Van Lanschot Senior Open played at Koninklijke Haagsche Golf and Country Club on July 10, 2010 in The Hague, Netherlands.
File: A ball comes to rest in the sun parched grass during the second round of the Van Lanschot Senior Open played at Koninklijke Haagsche Golf and Country Club on July 10, 2010 in The Hague, Netherlands.
Phil Inglis/Getty Images

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We’ve barely had any winter this year in Southern California. You know what that means: fire danger.

You can count on one hand how many times it’s rained in L.A. and Orange counties this winter. Not much.

What little precipitation has fallen has been dried out by summer-like temperatures.

Laura Blaul is a fire marshal with the Orange County Fire Authority.

"We always say this because we always want to be on our toes, but the fuel moistures are very low," Blaul says. "It’s hot. We’ve already had some red flag days in January. We had some in December even. And so we want to make sure that people are prepared that we could get a wildfire any day."

In other words, fire season in Southern California is pretty much year-‘round now. Cal Fire just recently issued new fire hazard maps that add thousands of homes to high fire risk areas.

Some cities have approved the maps with no issues. But others, like Tustin, have declined to approve them. Mission Viejo will consider whether to approve its new maps this week.