AirTalk for December 12, 2013

More fires but less damage: California wildfire season throws a curveball

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service firefighter Corey Adams sits on a tree stump as he monitors the Rim Fire on August 25, 2013 near Groveland, California.

 The 2013 wildfire season was the deadliest in 20 years for firefighters across the country after the tragic Yarnell fire that killed 19 people in Arizona.

 In California, the large, fast-moving Rim Fire caught the nation's attention as it scorched through 402 square miles across the Yosemite and Stanislaus National forests.Despite the huge habitat and wildland loss from that single fire, the overall amount of land burned in the state was actually below average.

Dire warnings about dry weather and fierce winds never materialized and the amount of land burned this year was less than the 10-year average. The Santa Ana winds did not blow with their usual strength keeping smaller fires from spreading.

Why was this wildfire season better than expected? Is it possible to predict how bad a fire season will be? How are state fire officials preparing for next year?

Guest:

Julie Hutchinson, Battalion Chief with California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE)


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