The spring´s late rains are keeping California´s hills green. But where hikers are finding a lush landscape, firefighters see potential calamity. Fire season usually runs from May to October. State and local fire officials are warning that come summer, rain-fed fields will dry out into thick tangles of brush which could burn hotter and longer than usual.
A major concern is that light, highly combustible grasses might provide sparks that could float on heavy winds into oak and heavy chaparral areas and ignite a huge fire. Fire officials in the region are letting cattle and sheep graze hillsides later into the summer and hiring crews to prune trees and remove grass from fire-prone areas. They are also reminding property owners to clear away dry vegetation.