Hot weather is on the way. Now is the time to get ready for wildfire season.

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Fire season is well underway. Some would say it never ended because there wasn't much of a rainy season.

As heat builds over the coming week, the fire danger will likely increase.

Cal Fire has already responded to over 1,200 wildfires since Jan. 1. This is nearly double what they would respond to in a typical year.

Weather factors that increase the fire danger are strong winds, low humidity and warm temperatures. The low moisture content and warm conditions allow fires to burn dried brush. Strong winds can help push the flames farther and make fighting fires very difficult.

The California Department of Forestry & Fire Protection (CDF) examines weather and brush in each area throughout the state to determine if there is a heightened or decreased threat of fires.

Cal Fire is reminding residents to prepare by clearing 100 feet of defensible space, prepare an emergency kit and know your evacuation route. You can visit ReadyForWildfire.org for more information on getting ready for wildfires.

All fires are not bad. The CDF highlights four areas in which forest fires actually help the environment:

  1. Wildfires clean the forest floor which can occasionally become overgrown. This allows sunlight to nourish the ground and soil.
  2. Forest fires help clear old brush to allow new herbs, grasses and shrubs to form. Since the forest is a habitat to many animals, this helps provide food for wildlife.
  3. Fires kill diseased plants and bugs that infect trees. The CDF said more trees die each year from disease than fire.
  4. When older trees are cleared from fire younger ones can replace them. Change is important to maintain a healthy forest. The CDF said a fire every 3 to 25 years is necessary for some plant and tree species to survive.
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