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Cal Fire: 2021 Wildfires Already Outpacing 2020's Wildfires

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — First responders are gearing up for another sizzling fire season in California that could end up worse than last year.

Last year broke records in terms of acres burned and the number of fires started. A spokesperson for Cal Fire said those numbers are surging even higher this year so far.

New data paints a disturbing image: Roughly 40,000 more acres burned this year compared to last year at the same time. And about 700 more fires started.

"It's a little shocking to look at for sure," said Lynne Tolmachoff with Cal Fire.

Tolmachoff said the statewide drought is causing several big problems.

"Last year we had a little bit more rain, a little bit more snowpack further into the springtime. Whereas this year we pretty much came to a dead stop in April and May," she said.

More fires will stretch Cal Fire resources thin at the same time they're dealing with a low water supply for fighting fires.

"That definitely becomes a little bit of a struggle we've got to know where all of our water resources are and that they're available to us. But at the same time we also have to be careful about the water for communities that they use for drinking and daily use," Tolmachoff said.

When these fierce wildfire flames hit, it's the Red Cross stepping in to help the evacuees -- people who sometimes lose everything.

"It seems that every summer they say this is the worst summer ever on record for wildfires. Here we are again," said Steve Walsh, the Northern California Red Cross Spokesperson.

Walsh said the agency prepares like it will be the worst year for fires, every year.

People can help by being ready.

"This is the time to prepare. We want everybody to make that list of things they would need to take with them if they have to evacuate," Walsh said.

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