Final preparations underway ahead of high-risk California wildfire season

With hot, dry weather soon to be upon us, fire officials want to emphasize how an ounce of prevention can prevent towns burning to the ground.

We're getting to the point where the weather will dictate the fate of wildlands, homes, even towns.

Just north of San Rafael, Marin County fire fighters, taking advantage of a calm day, on an often used hillside, performed controlled burm for seasonal hire, firefighter training.

Despite recent rains, fire science forecasters are expecting another bad year.

"They're telling us that we're gonna have another high risk season. It's gonna be a little bit delayed.

Some of our worse fire seasons in history in California have been after, actually, extremely wet Mays, said Marin County Fire Battalion Chief Graham Groneman.

Though this is a training today, fire officials say you can expect to see a lot more controlled burns for the specific purpose of abating danger in problem areas before the rage into wildfires.

At Rossmoor, the 1,800-acre adult community with 6,700 homes and condos in Walnut Creek's Tice Valley, landscaping here as is much for fire abatement as is for beauty.

Rossmoor was twice threatened by wildfires last summer.

"We've seen the defensible space and how how important it is to give the fire department opportunity to actually beat back the fire before it gets to structures," said Rossmoor Landscape Manager Rebecca Pollon.

Fire officials also say all roadsides should be clear back at least 30 feet.

"In case someone tosses a cigarette out of the window or if there's a car fire," said Contra Costa Fire District's Kathy Woofter.

Major winter and significant spring rains have caused grasses to grow denser and taller than usual.

"The forecast models for the weather are also not working in our favor when it comes to wildfire season this year. The fire behaviors will be more extreme and fire will be less predictable than in years gone by," said Contra Costa Fire District Public Information Officer Steve Hill.

As with many fire jurisdictions, weed abatement notices have been sent to property owners who could face liens and fines if fire districts have to hire landscapers to do the work.

But, there are matching grant programs to help property owners pay for weed abatement crews, tree trimmers, even herds of weed, grass and brush eating goats.

"These grants, again, are up to $5,000. They involve a group of citizens or homeowners applying," said Diablo Fire Safe Council President Vince Crudele.

This may be the last chance for many folks to act before what little green is left turns toasty brown.