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Increase in vegetation fires in Bakersfield

Posted at 6:33 PM, Jul 10, 2024

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Fire crews are working hard to battle a rise in vegetation fires this year. It's a big jump from 2023 and more than double the number from two years ago.

  • Firefighters responded in 2023 to approximately 500 grass fires.
  • This year alone firefighters responded to 643 fires.
  • In total this year 16,468 acres have burned with the fires being started by people and nature.

Anyone who has spent time in Kern County knows that summer is the height of the wildfire season... the hottest and driest part of the year.

Jonathan Drucker Public Information officer says

"From the time you see most of the smoke and flame gone will still be there for an extended period making sure there is nothing that can reignite and further threaten anything around it."

With two grass crops that have been growing since the previous years, firefighters are facing taller lengths of fires in the grass.

However, this isn't unexpected and the Kern County Fire Department is prepared. Jonathan Drucker public information officer says

"This is something we are ready for we understand that taller thicker vegetation means that we are going to have larger and hotter burning fires"

In 2023 Firefighters responded to approximately 500 grass fires.

Currently, this year alone firefighters responded to 643 fires - which have burned a total of nearly 16,500 acres. (16,468)

Many of the fires were accidentally started by people and nature.

"We do everyday things like driving down the road lots of fires are started by a chain dragging from a vehicle towing a trailer or a vehicle going and parking in tall grass and the hot exhaust starts a fire."

In response to the fires, Kern County Fire Department has increased its staff... adding more medical first responders... and a new contract helicopter from Coulson Aviation.

The fire department wants you to stay safe and be proactive I'm Chantaye Imani your Bakersfield Neighborhood reporter

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