California endured its worst fire season on record in 2017. Statewide, in CAL FIRE’s responsibility area, 7,117 wildfires scorched more than 505,000 acres of land.

Residents of Butte County were not spared from the destruction. Firefighters in CAL FIRE’s Butte Unit battled blazes that consumed 25,811 acres. Four major devastating fires: Wall, Ponderosa, Cherokee, and La Porte, destroyed 114 homes, 6 commercial structures, and 112 outbuildings.

As we move into the new year, CAL FIRE/Butte County Fire would like to remind residents that NOW is the time to prepare for the 2018 fire season. As evidenced by the Thomas Fire that occurred in December in Southern California, destructive wildfires can and do happen year round.

Now is the time to start cutting dead branches and brush, and limbing up your trees within 100 feet of your home. Butte Unit Fire Chief Darren Read says, “I can’t stress enough how important defensible space is in protecting your home. The work you put in now will pay big dividends during a wildfire.”

Chief Read encourages Butte County residents to contact their local fire station for information on defensible space requirements and other ways to make their home fire- ready, or visit www.readyforwildfire.org to learn about defensible space and creating a family wildfire action plan.

Whether California returns to the drought conditions of the previous four years, or sees another year of historic rainfall, the land will dry out, and summer will arrive, bringing with it the potential for deadly and devastating wildfires. Don’t be caught unprepared. Get ready now for a fire-safe year.