USA — Fire season is officially over, Cal Fire announced this week.
Heavy rains last weekend soaked tinder-dry vegetation, dousing major concerns that wildland fires could spark. As a result, Cal Fire released its seasonal crews and gave word open burns under contract with Cal Fire will resume beginning Monday. The county’s open burn season will start Dec. 1.
The 2008 fire season in Santa Cruz County was one of the worst in recent memory.
Three major wildland blazes – the Summit, Martin and Trabing fires – burned in county in late May and June, blackening almost 5,500 acres and destroying 100 homes.
Although no other large fires ignited later in the summer, there were many scares.
A small fire smoldered in the deep chaparral forest of Castle Rock State Park for several hot days in late July and in September, a fire charred a few acres of Henry Cowell State Park not far from the campground.
In Santa Cruz, five small blazes were lit in Pogonip in September, some accidently and some deliberately set. All were kept to an acre or less, but the spate of fires confirmed neighbors’ long-running fears that the open space on the outskirts of town could quickly be consumed by flames.
Local Cal Fire crews, which respond to blazes in Santa Cruz and Santa Clara counties, were called to more than 130 fires in the two counties during the summer, according to Cal Fire Battalion Chief Kay Price. Most of the fires were held to less than 10 acres, she said.