News Release

For Release: Feb. 2, 2007
Contact: Jeff Fontana, BLM (530) 252-5332 or Leona Rodreick, LNF, (530) 252-6605   

Dry Winter Conditions Cause Fire Danger Concerns

Warm and unusually dry conditions through the early months of winter in northern California are prompting fire officials to urge property owners and back country visitors to use extreme caution with fire.

Over the past few weeks fire fighters have responded to several wildfires that resulted when private property debris-burning projects escaped control.  In recent days fires near Bieber in northern Lassen County and near Vinton in eastern Plumas County each burned about 100 acres, which is highly unusual for this time of year.

“We have just ended one of the driest Januarys on record,” said Jim Hedges, a co-manager at the Susanville Interagency Fire Center (SIFC).  “Despite the cold weather, vegetation across northern California is very dry and ready to burn.”

SIFC officials offered these fire safety tips: 

  • Burn debris only on calm days.  Be sure that all fires are attended by an adult.  Have fire fighting
     tools – a shovel and water – handy.
  • Be sure to clear debris from the area around burn piles.
  • Check the local weather forecast for predicted winds during and after your burning project.
  • Check your completed project for smoldering embers and extinguish them.
  • When driving in the back country, keep vehicles away from dry brush and grass. Hot exhaust systems can spark fires.

Officials also advise rural property owners that now is the time to begin projects to ensure homes and buildings can be defended against wildfire. Property owners should follow these precautions:

  • Create a minimum defensible space of 100 feet around structures (it is required in California).
  • Remove all dead and fine fuels such as pine needles, sticks and grass from around homes and outbuildings.
  • Trim ladder fuels, such as shrubs and tree branches, that can carry fire from the ground to the tree tops.

Detailed information is available on the web at, or from any office of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, the Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management or local fire departments.

SIFC Interagency Fire Center   -  Fifth and Cedar Streets   -  Susanville, CA  96130
California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection  -  Lassen National Forest
Bureau of Land Management  -  Lassen Volcanic National Park