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How Cal Fire Is Preparing For The Coming Wildfire Season

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Last year's wildfire season set records for death and destruction in California. Bob Moffitt with Capital Public Radio reports on the state's preparations for the 2019 fire season.

Cal Fire has a list of 35 projects it hopes to complete in advance of the coming fire season. Many are along what firefighters call the wildland urban interface.

Thom Porter is the new director of Cal Fire and says conditions are changing rapidly at lower levels.

"Sea level up to about 2,000 feet, we're already seeing significant dry out of al of the grassy fuels. Fires are already growing into the hundreds of acres fairly rapidly"

He says fire crews are rushing to clear brush and grass in foothill locations before they dry out.

Major General David Baldwin with the California National Guard says this is the first time it has trained hand crews to clear areas of fuel before fire season.

There are 110 soldiers who are assigned to the mission, 100 of which are assigned to five hand crews. The five hand crews are in four locations: Redding, Auburn, Monterey and then two in Fresno."

[  of the 35  There's a fire break [in Orinda,] east of Berkeley, another in the [unincorporated community of Guatay [GWA tye] ]Cuyamaca [KOO yah mah kuh ] Mountains of San Diego County and another near Colfax to clear brush from an area near train tracks, a PG&E power lines, a petroleum pipleline and water supply and along the North Fork of the American River.]

Cal Fire says the 35 projects were chosen in an effort to protect 200 communities nearby. 

Fires burned a record 1.8 million acres and killed 100 people last year, 85 of whom died in the Camp Fire.

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