By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Weird Weather Delays Fire Season Start
Placeholder Image
Weather forecasters are calling for cloudy conditions and a slight chance of rain every day the rest of this week, but all that means is additional growth of weeds and grass, adding to the concern for high fire danger.

"The way the weather has gone, I haven't heard of an official start date," Escalon Consolidated Fire Protection District Chief Rick Mello said of the 2010 fire season. "We've had it declared by this time in the past and if we're not already in it, we expect it to be around Memorial Day."

The unusual wet, warm, windy, cool, wet weather pattern that has marked this spring has provided plenty of opportunity for grasses and weeds around the region to flourish.

"It just adds to the growth of the vegetation," Mello agreed of staying in the current weather pattern.

Notices were previously sent to property owners in the fire district that need to do some weed abatement and city officials sent similar notices out to lots in the city itself that need attention.

"They are taking care of the problems within the city limits," Mello noted of the police department's code enforcement effort. "The county program is up and running and we have nine properties (in the fire district outside city limits) that are in weed abatement."

As the region prepares for the unofficial start of summer with the Memorial Day holiday weekend approaching, Mello said it is crucial that residents play it safe, in a number of ways.

"Use caution over Memorial Day, there will be a lot more people out on the roads, also use caution in the water and stay out of the canals," he said.

With temperatures barely expected to break into the 80s over the weekend, there might not be as many people heading to the river for rafting or swimming, but those that do plan to take part in those activities especially need to take safety precautions.

"Wear life jackets," Mello said. "We're getting the runoff ... the water is very fast and very cold."

If the weather is windy over the weekend, use care in starting up backyard barbecues as well.

"With the winds we've had, a lot of the vegetation is dry already so it will still burn," said Mello. "We just haven't had the hot weather yet to go along with it, but caution should be observed."

As far as checking on those parcels in the weed abatement notification stage, Mello said the goal is to have all of them cleaned up - either by the owner or, as a last resort, by fire crews - by the July 4 holiday.