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Bendix Quoted in Associated Press Article on the Corral Fire in California

June 13, 2024

The Associated Press

Jacob Bendix

Jacob Bendix

The Corral Fire, California’s largest wildfire so far this year, was significantly surrounded last week after blackening a swath of hilly grasslands between San Francisco Bay and the Central Valley.

California has had back-to-back wet years that ended drought but spawned vegetation growth. Cal Fire’s outlook for 2024 noted that increasing dryness from mid-May to June would potentially lead to more small fires and a chance of larger fires depending on wind. 

Though this fire is nearly contained, in general, fire burns hotter when the weather is hotter, says Jacob Bendix, professor emeritus of geography and the environment. He adds that high winds can carry embers across freeways. Drought contributes to dangerous fire seasons, but paradoxically, wetter years can too.

“The flip side of that is that moisture allows for growth as well,” he says. In some places, a wet winter that causes vegetation to flourish can ultimately exacerbate the following fire season when all those plants dry out and become fuel.

Read more in the Associated Press article, “California firefighters make significant progress against wildfire east of San Francisco Bay.”

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