Southern California Wildflowers are New Fuel for Fire

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(Sacramento, CA)
Friday, July 8, 2005

After the winter rains there’s plenty of brush and grass to burn, but State Department of Forestry and Fire Protection officials say there’s a new cause for concern this year.  Deputy Director Jim Wright says the wildflowers and grasses in the desert, brought about by the large amounts of rain, are now dying off and creating new fuel. 

 “It’s enough to carry fires, and we do get fires in the desert areas, and under wind conditions the fire travels from bush to bush. But in this case we have a layer of fine floor fuels that’s carrying the fire.”
That scenario has already played out in fires this summer in the Mojave Desert and Wright says those areas will remain a focus through the fire season.  Wright also says fire officials are getting the word out about new requirements this year to clear brush and vegetation within 100 feet of homes—previous law required clearance of up to thirty feet.