All of the wet weather the Central Coast is receiving this December has put an official end to fire season in the Los Padres National Forest, something that failed to happen last year.
Cal Fire says the high fire season is over for the first time since spring of 2013.
Unit Forester Alan Peters says the declaration gives fire crews time to engage in some training and other activities they can't do during peak season. While Central Coast hills have received enough moisture and greening to drop the fire level, Peters says the declaration could be short-lived.
"It really is fire season year-round, because even with this wonderful precipitation we've had for the past—well, since Halloween, we've had three or four storms now since Halloween—we all know it can turn dry within a matter of days or weeks," said Peters.
Andrew Madsen with the forest service says campfires and charcoal barbecues will once again be allowed throughout the Los Padres region. They've dropped down to Level 1, the lowest of the fire risk designations.
“While we will not know if this winter will finally bring us out of this long drought, we welcome the last few wetting storms so we can take a breath from a fire season that extended from April of 2013 until now,” stated Chief Robert Lewin, Cal Fire's San Luis Obispo Unit Chief.
The Los Padres National Forest encompasses approximately 1.75 million acres and stretches across almost 220 miles from north to south along California's Central Coast. The northern division is within Monterey County and northern San Luis Obispo County and includes the Big Sur Coast. The "main division" of the forest includes lands within San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Ventura and Kern Counties.