Kern River Valley preparing for fire season

Low rain fall could lead to active fire season

Lake Isabella, Calif. - An extremely dry winter has left 1000's of acres of dry brush across much of the California. That has fire officials gearing up for a busy wildfire season.

With little water stored in mountain snow, fire officials around the state are increasing staff to be ready. 

Firefighters have already responded to 680 fires to date this calendar year, 200 more than this time last year. 

While some property owners in the Kern River Valley have already been preparing, not all have. 

"The best thing that they can do is be diligent about their hazard reduction," Capt. Bill Steers, with the Kern County Fire Department said. "Getting their hazard reduction early as possible seeing as most everything is cured out and dried at this time that is the best thing to go on." 

Larry Sutten and his wife live just off of Lake Isabella. Every year Sutten starts preparing during late winter, or early fall. 

"We clear everything that we can," Sutten said. "We don't want it to look like the moon. You still want to have a little bit of property that is decent to look at. I have to live here. I don't want it like I'm living on Mars."

In past years, fires have come very close to Sutten's doorstep that they caused him and his wife to evacuate. 

"It's real scary because you know you've worked all your life and this is all you've got and of course you don't want to lose it," Sutten said.

The Kern County Fire Department has already seen some small brush fires, which is earlier than usual. 

"It has dried out much earlier that it has in the year's past so it is going to bring the fire season on a little bit earlier than later, which is the biggest issue," Steers said.    

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