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Northstate remains in a 'drought and fire watch' despite rain storm

By Tyler May, tmay@krcrtv.com
Published On: Jan 29 2014 08:58:24 PM CST
CHICO, Calif. -

This is the first measurable moisture since the snowstorm on December 6.

Farmers and firefighters are thankful we got some rain Wednesday, but they want people to know we are not out of the woods yet.

Wet weather finally made its way to the Northstate after countless summer like days.

“I didn't expect this at all, but I’m glad it is. I like the rain,” said Chico State student, Katherine Mal.

“It's starting to feel like winter. That makes me happy,” said Chico resident, Marshal Downey.

The CHP was on high alert Wednesday making sure the roads were safe.

“On a rainy day, we expect to see high volume of traffic collisions because people don't prepare for the wet road conditions,” said Officer Adriana Warner of California Highway Patrol.

Farmers are wishing to see more rain-like conditions.

“I mean we are 10 to 14 inches behind the worst drought year we've ever seen. This is a far greater nature that people have grasped,” said Dave Daly of the College of Agriculture at Chico State University.

Daly said they have been watering their crops and buying feed for their animals this winter; something they normally rely on Mother Nature to take care of.

“When you start dealing with a little drizzle. It settles the dust. It makes us feel better, but we are going to have to have some massive February storms. I mean storms we haven't seen before to actually even get close,” said Daly.

The dry conditions lately have also put us on fire watch that forced CAL FIRE to hire 15 seasonal firefighters this winter.

“We also have firefighting aircraft on the base in Chico which aren't normally on this time of the year. Nothing is changing for us because of a little rain,” said Division Chief Chris Haile.

Cal Fire received numerous calls of people ignoring the burn ban still in effect throughout Butte County. Even though with wet conditions CAL FIRE said it's still too dangerous to do any agriculture burns.

“With this little rain now, it will dampen the grass maybe for a day, day in a half. By Monday, we are getting winds again. The winds are going to destroy what the rains this time,” said Haile.

Cal Fire said there is a lot of dry brush that can cause a wildfire, and they remind you if you do any burning you are responsible if the fire gets out.