SAN MATEO COUNTY (CBS SF) – Cal Fire added two more counties to its growing list of regions of Northern California where it has suspended burn permits, in response to increasing fire danger posed by dead grass and hotter, drier conditions.

The suspension takes effect May 20 in San Mateo and Santa Cruz counties, which were added to the list that already includes Napa, Solano, Sonoma, Colusa, Lake and Yolo to the north, along with San Benito and Monterey counties to the south.

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The suspension bans all outdoor burning but does not apply to campfires within organized campgrounds or on private property. Campfires may be permitted if the campfire is maintained in such a manner as to prevent its spread to the wildland. A campfire permit can be obtained at local fire stations or online at PreventWildfireCA.org.

This suspension is in addition to the backyard burn suspension that took effect May 1.

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In a press release issued Wednesday, Cal Fire officials said the state is bracing for another devastating wildfire season.

“It is important for the public to be fire ready,” said Chief Ian Larkin, Unit Chief for Cal Fire San Mateo-Santa Cruz. “With the below-average precipitation received this year, the vegetation is drying much faster, it will be ready to burn earlier this season. Be prepared, have a plan and practice that plan before a fire occurs.”

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