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During South Coast visit, State Fire Chief warns California could have rough high wildfire season

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KCLU
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State Fire Chief Joe Tyler talking to firefighters in Ventura County.

Joe Tyler touring state to try to increase awareness about wildfire preparedness.

The Central and South Coasts have several major brush fires in the last year, but nothing like the catastrophic Thomas, and Woolsey fires in 2017 and 2018.

The state’s top fire official says given the impacts of the drought, he’s worried as we move into high wildfire season.

Joe Tyler became Fire Chief of CalFire, the state’s fire agency in March.

Speaking to KCLU News, he says the wildfire potential will be high. He says they have been monitoring the factors which can create a high threat, and notes that the outlook isn't good.

Ventura County Fire officials told KCLU this week that the fuel moisture is about eight week ahead of average. In other words, brush in the county is as dry as you would normally expect in July.

The CalFire Chief is touring the state this week, trying to get out word to people who live in high wildfire danger areas that the time to prepare is now.

He says it includes making sure there is adequate brush clearance, and that homeowners do home hardening, which means taking steps to make properties fire resistant.

We’re talking to the state fire chief in Camarillo, where in the background we can see homes that are in wildland areas, with brush filled slopes nearby.

The fire chief says the state is working with federal, and local agencies to try to reduce the threat in wildland-urban interface areas. Those are spots where homes are adjacent to open space. It’s an attractive reason for homeowners to live there, but that open land dried by years of drought poses a huge threat.