SACRAMENTO (CBS/AP)- Authorities have said that California is facing a dangerous wildfire season due to a dry winter that has left the normally green hills of spring parched and tinder-dry.

State fire crews have responded to more than 680 wildfires since the beginning of the year—about 200 more than average for the period. Local agencies have battled fires that briefly threatened hundreds of homes in Los Angeles and Ventura counties.

READ MORE: VIDEO: San Francisco Police Break Up Early Morning Sideshow in Rincon Hill

The Angeles National Forest north of Los Angeles plans to raise its fire danger level from moderate to high on Friday.

READ MORE: Vallejo Police Seek Public's Help Investigating June 2020 Birthday Party Shooting That Killed 2

Authorities said much of California is well below normal for seasonal rainfall. Downtown Los Angeles has seen only 2 inches of rain since January instead of the usual 10 inches.

MORE NEWS: Light Showers Forecast For North Bay With Chance of Sprinkles Further South

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)