*information from CALFire website
The declaration of fire season in California is actually a change in preparedness levels for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. CAL FIRE is year-round fire and emergency response Department. When weather patterns in an area of the state become warm and dry, and vegetation (fuels) are at a low moisture content point, Emergency response dispatch levels are typically increased, facilities are staffed 24 hours a day and additional firefighters are hired. CAL FIRE airtankers and air attack planes are deployed from their maintenance location in Sacramento to strategic positions around the state. Restrictions and suspensions of burn permits are also likely to take effect during fire season in areas where extreme fire conditions exist.
When cooling weather, rain and snow are sufficient to reduce the fire threat, CAL FIRE then reduces its preparedness levels by releasing additional firefighters, closing some stations, and repositioning aircraft.
Preparedness levels can change depending upon weather patterns any time throughout the year. Typically they begin to increase earliest and remain in effect the longest in the south state as the warm, dry weather patterns can last from May to January in that region.
See the fire season preparedness levels and statistics.