Higher elevation and heavier vegetation will likely begin to dry out earlier than normal this year, given the lack of snowpack at higher elevations. In addition, ladder fuels and brush and shrubs will be more vunerable to ignition by the early spring.
Due to these factors, large fire potential will likely be above normal over many areas away from the ocean and its moderating maritime influence. Inland regions and areas from 3,000 to 8,000 feet may be the most vulnerable to new ignitions by the end of winter into early spring. If late winter snows do not arrive, expect the high risk areas to migrate to higher elevations in the Sierras. The lack of winter snow may also lead to the possibility of drought returning to a large portion of the area by the beginning to middle part of spring.