The Winter That Overstayed its Welcome ended up bestowing California with a gift: Wildfires took a far smaller toll than normal this year.
As local units of Cal Fire declared peak wildfire season over late last week, a state tally showed that fires consumed 92,212 acres, the fifth-smallest toll in 40 years and less than the 93,000 that burned the previous year. The acreage include lands overseen by the state as well as national forests managed by the federal government.
In the 12 months ending in June, California received 124 percent of normal rainfall, according to Jan Null of Golden Gate Weather Services, a consulting firm based in Saratoga.
October’s periodic showers prompted Cal Fire’s Bay Area units to end fire season on Monday.
“The rain has everything to do with slowing the fire season down,” said Mary Welna, Cal Fire spokeswoman.
About half of the firefighters on duty, who typically work a 72-hour workweek, were sent home for the winter. That’s about 120 people in the unit that oversees Santa Clara, Alameda, Contra Costa counties and the west sides of San Joaquin and Stanislaus counties.