Contra Costa County high risk for wildfire, officials say

Built in the Bay

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(CONTRA COSTA COUNTY, Calif.) After an incredibly dry year, fire officials are warning that Contra Costa County, and it's wide swathe of rolling hills, is at high risk for wildfires this summer.

According to a map of the county's high risk zones put forward during a Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday night, huge portions of the mostly rural county are a high or very high risk for wildfire.

Both Briones Regional Park and Tilden Regional Park in the Western portion of the county have been designated as "very high risk" for fire. Similarly, Sycamore Regional Valley Preserve and Mount Diablo in the central portion of the county have also been designated as "very high risk."

"Whether it's moderate, high risk or very high risk, the risks are here in this county," Deputy Fire Chief of the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District (CCFPD) Aaron McAlister said. "We definitely have that potential that existed south of us and north of us in previous years — that potential now exists here in Contra Costa County."

To make matters worse, the county saw only 30% of it's average rainfall during the 2020-2021 rainy season. According to a National Weather Service (NWS) meteorologist who spoke to the board, that "exceptional" level of drought surpasses the counties dryest rates of last year.

Additionally, the NWS predicts abnormally high temperatures throughout this summer. The increased temperature, combined with exceedingly dry conditions and exacerbated the ongoing wind advisories, leaves many county officials and residents wary of the days ahead.

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