SANTA ROSA (KPIX 5) — Real, significant amounts of rainfall are finally on deck for Northern California. This is something the state is going to need to see a lot of – all throughout the fall and winter – to put a dent in the drought. But just this first sequence of rains could do a lot of work towards reducing our fire danger.

“We’re hoping that we get a lot of rain for the crops, the reservoirs, and everything else in Sonoma County,” said Santa Rosa resident Robin Webber as the wind picked up and the clouds moved in Tuesday.

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The changing weather made it clear that rain was approaching the North Bay, the first round arriving tonight.

“Then again Friday and Saturday,” said Paul Lowenthal of Cal Fire. “But our eyes quickly turn to what could potentially be a potent atmospheric river here locally on Sunday.”

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For firefighters, the forecast is mixed one. The first rounds of rain won’t be too heavy, and they’ll be staggered, allowing the moisture to settle into the parched or damaged ground.

“What we don’t like is when we get those high intensity rainfall rates in short periods of time,” Lowenthal explained. “Especially in and around our burn scars … Those are areas that have hillsides that have been significantly damaged by fires, haven’t had a lot of regrowth, and could potentially be susceptible to heavy amounts of rain.”

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“Back in September the fire came over those hills right there,” Webber says. pointing to the hills behind Mountainhawk.

The burn scar of the Glass Fire would be one area of concern if very heavy rains do materialize later this week, but residents here are thrilled to see some fire relief approaching.

“Yeah, it would be good to end the fire season with this crap of rain that’s coming in,” Webber says.

And fire officials do think the approaching rains, several days worth, could be enough to do that in parts of Northern California.

“So we really are hopeful that we will see the rains, start getting our fuel saturated with moisture,” Lowenthal says. “And then hopefully be able to officially, at least here in Santa Rosa, declare the fire season officially over.”

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