The city of Santa Rosa Fire Department has officially declared the end of the 2021 wildfire season in Santa Rosa. While conditions around the region and state currently vary, locally, Santa Rosa received roughly 11 inches of rain in the month of October and the threat of significant fires in the community has been minimized.
The department first announced the start of Santa Rosa’s 2021 wildfire season back on May 17 – much earlier than normal due to severe drought conditions locally, and throughout the state.
During the off-season, the Fire Department encourages residents, especially those who live within or around the City’s Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) area, to take steps to prepare properties in anticipation of an active wildfire season next year. Proactive efforts can significantly help reduce the spread of wildfires locally. Residents are asked to maintain defensible space around the homes by addressing new growth of vegetation that incudes brush and tree limbs.
“The Santa Rosa Fire Department responded to multiple vegetation fires this year in and immediately around the city,” said Santa Rosa Fire Chief Scott Westrope. “Fires were driven by weather, critically dry fuels under drought conditions and ranged from small spot fires to 50 acres in size. We planned and prepared for a busy season and thank our community for maintaining defensible space and keeping seasonal grasses cut and in compliance with our Weed Abatement Ordinance. Those measures prevented significant property damage during several of our fires this past season.”
Weed Abatement Inspections Suspended
With the end of wildfire season being declared, the Santa Rosa Fire Department will suspend annual weed abatement inspections effective November 2, 2021. During fire season, property owners are required to keep weeds and seasonal grasses cut down to four inches in height and maintain this practice throughout the declared season. Properties that were required to take this measure include those within the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI), on all vacant lots across Santa Rosa (including those in fire rebuilding areas), or on developed properties with more than a half-acre of unimproved land.
Pile Burning Permits in the City of Santa Rosa
The Santa Rosa Fire Department anticipates that Pile Burning will be permissible starting in late November in permitted locations within the city of Santa Rosa. The Department will continue to monitor conditions locally and coordinate any pile-burning-related efforts with regional partners when making the official decision on when to begin issuing those permits. In March 2021, the Santa Rosa City Council approved a new Ordinance allowing property owners to burn vegetative debris piles as a limited method to reduce the threat of wildfires. This type of pile burning, under appropriate weather conditions, can rapidly eliminate vegetative debris after it is cut and piled. A permit must be obtained through the Fire department prior to proceeding with any pile-burning work.
For additional information on Pile Burning and what preparedness measures are recommended for property owners before next fire season, view the Santa Rosa Fire Department’s Wildfire Ready online information center at srcity.org/WildfireReady.