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California prepares for record-breaking wildfire season, fire officials say predicted numbers are 'stunning'

"I can’t tell you how many times that I’ve heard people say, 'You know, the fire looked a long ways off. I thought I had more time.' And next thing you know, they read grabbing everything they have and they’re running."

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Katie Daviscourt Seattle WA
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Fire departments from across the state of California are preparing for another season of wildfires as blazes currently ravage the terrain, following yet another dry winter setting the stage for the worst season of fires in California on record.

Southern California Fire Chiefs, joined by CAL FIRE and federal agency officials, made an assessment on Friday and urged residents living in fire-prone areas to prepare for the upcoming season of potential evacuations. They also urged residents to develop plans that would help defend the space around their properties from fires, according to NBC Los Angeles.

The officials collectively delivered a warning about the persistently dry conditions that left terrain ripe for fires to spread rapidly, particularly in areas that haven’t been effected by fires in decades.

Last summer, wildfires in California shattered records. However, new data indicates that California is on pace to experience yet another record breaking season of wildfires as numbers show an increase of nearly 1,000 more fires reported compared to this time last year.

According to CAL FIRE Stats, more than 3,270 fires have been reported in California so far this year, compared to the 2,625 during this time last year. 16,450 acres have burned so far in 2021 while fires burned 19,000 acres throughout the month of June last year.

"So routinely we might see fires that might be 10-20 acres this time of year, they’re up to 400-500 acres," Los Angeles County Fire Chief Daryl Osby said. "We're already having some of those in the Antelope Valley, Santa Clarita."

The fire Chief of Orange County, Brian Fennessy, echoed those fears.

"We're seeing Fire spread that is even stunning many of us that have been doing this for a very long time," Fennessy said. "Fire spread that quite easily could surprise many of the citizens within this region. I can’t tell you how many times that I’ve heard people say, 'You know, the fire looked a long ways off. I thought I had more time.' And next thing you know, they read grabbing everything they have and they’re running."

On Sunday night, a 1200 acre fire broke out along the 5 Freeway north of Frazier Park in Kern County, ABC 7 reports.

According to the Kern County Fire Department, the blaze which is being referred to as the Shell Fire, is only 2 percent contained.

The cause of the Shell Fire is currently under investigation.

Near Big Sur, California, a photo of an exhausted firefighter battling the Willow Fire in Monterey County went viral on social media Sunday as blazes have burned nearly 3000 acres  since the start of the fire on June 17.

As of Sunday night, 56 percent of the Willow Fire has been contained, according to KRON4 News.

On Sunday evening, a separate fire broke out in Fresno, California and has burned more than 200 acres.

According to CAL FIRE, 20 percent of the fire, dubbed the Vulcan Fire, has been contained, ABC30 reported.

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