Fire Season 2002 Could Be A Rough One

Fire Season Officially Started Wednesday

Conditions are perfect for a hot and fiery summer in Kern County and the Western United States, KERO 23 News reported.

Wednesday marked the official start to the 2002 fire season, although crews had already been battling a number of wild fires in the southern part of the state.

The U.S. Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management, and Kern County fire crews will spend the next several months trying to stay one water drop or fire break ahead of any potential wild fire threat.

All three agencies joined forces Wednesday morning to get the word out on potential fire hazards this year.

Central and Southern California are described as "very dry" this season, and there have already been a handful of hot spots in the past week.

The Forest Service has already sent crews into Southern California, while the BLM and county hot shots will be ready to go by next week.

With crews and equipment in place, fire officials are bracing for wild fires that rival that of the Manter Fire two years ago.

"Our fuel moisture is really low. We're in July-like conditions right now -- when July comes, it's gonna be really severe," said BLM Fire management officer Tony Sarzotti.

Forest Service division chief Dan Kleinman agreed, and said crews should have been in place earlier.

"We brought some crews on three weeks early, and we should have brought them on earlier than that," he said.

County fire stations have pamphlets available on how you can reduce the danger of wild fires.

Last year, the county spent more than 6,000 man-hours doing inspections and ordered 45 property cleanups, KERO reported.