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Parched California Ablaze With Worsening Conditions Expected

"It's still spring... and it's burning like it's August or September."

Andrea Germanos, staff writer

The White Fire burning on Monday. (Photo: ValleyFireScan via Twitter)

On Wednesday, firefighters continue to battle wildfires in southern California "burning like it's August or September" as the drought-covered state is left a "tinderbox" following a low-moisture winter and warm, windy weather.

"It's an out-of-control wildfire so it is a threat," said Santa Barbara County fire Capt. David Sadecki of the White Fire that broke out Monday afternoon and has already burned over 1800 acres. "There's a lot of dry vegetation in its path," he said. 

"It's still spring—it's not even summer—and it's burning like it's August or September," said Sadecki.

In its monthly outlook issued May 1, the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) warned that the region's "significant fire potential would be above normal" and would continue into June.

Contributing to that fire potential is a dry winter.

Frank Gehrke, chief surveyor for the Department of Water Resources, and the person in charge of surveying California's snowpack to see how much water will reach storage reservoirs, had a dry assessment earlier this month.

The snowpack was at only 17 percent of normal. 

"I'm finding nothing. Seriously, there is no snow on the course at all," Gehrke said.

And California's "precipitation pretty much shut off at the beginning of the year," NIFC wildland fire analyst Jeremy Sullens told reporters in a phone conference.

The most recent Drought Monitor shows the entire state enveloped in some level of drought.

"Since they're not expecting a lot more precipitation for the remainder of the summer, conditions are going to worsen as we go into the hotter part of the year," warned Sullens.


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