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Experts say weather helped California avoid dangerous wildfires in 2022

Weather helps California avoid disastrous wildfire-filled year, experts say
Weather helps California avoid disastrous wildfire-filled year, experts say 02:14

Experts said that Californians managed to avoid the wildfire devastation that the state has seen in past years thanks to moisture brought in by a monsoonal season. 

"We had a very healthy monsoonal season," said United State Forest Service Meteorologist Pete Curran. "And by that I mean that we had moisture from the Gulf of Mexico that came across the desert ... and brought us beneficial rain in the summer months. And even though the amounts weren't great they did actually tamp down a little bit on our wildfire potential."

Curran added that the rain brought by Tropical Storm Kay helped douse the Fairview Fire earlier this year. He added that the rain in early November and fewer Santa Ana wind events played a major role in helping reduce the number, and duration, of the state's wildfires. 

"We are keeping most fires pretty small in size, not using lots of resources," said Tirtha Banerjee, an assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering. 

Banerjee studies wildfires and the prescribed burning of forests at the University of California, Irvine. 

In addition to the rainy weather, California has seen less dry lightning than in previous years. The state has also invested nearly $3 billion to help manage the forests, which includes prescribed burns as well as new helicopters that allow pilots to fly at night and carry more water. 

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