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California Fire Danger Increases Amid Unusually Dry Winter

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A firefighter monitors a wildfire. (Mark Ralston/Getty Images)

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SACRAMENTO (CBS SF) – Cal Fire is increasing its staff and canceling burn days and planned debris burning in response to increased fire danger because of an unusually dry winter, Cal Fire officials said.

The agency said that over the last month there were an increased number of fires for a typical December, when wildfire activity usually slows as wetter weather sets in across the state.

But despite low temperatures, precipitation has been unusually low, and the statewide water content is at 19 percent of normal.

Officials said that the lack of precipitation could potentially cause even greater fire danger in the spring and summer months, as well.

“We will be monitoring the rain levels over the next couple months, as it will be an indicator of the type of fire activity spring and summer will bring,” Cal Fire Chief Ken Pimlott said.

Cal Fire is also asking residents of California to be extremely cautious not to start a wildfire, particularly on windy days.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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