It comes down to this: the next couple of months.
Lately Northern California has captured national headlines with fast-moving blazes such the Rocky and Jerusalem Fires in the coast ranges about 100 miles north of San Francisco.
Unlike many epic fires in the California record, which were largely driven by wind, in the fires burning north of the Bay Area, "There really is no signifcant wind," says Cal Fire Director Ken Pimlott. "It's all being driven by the condition of the vegetation."
Which is to say, not merely dry, but four-year-drought dry. Pimlott says Cal Fire measures the potential burn intensity of vegetation throughout the state, and is currently seeing "record levels" of that metric, known as the Energy Release Component.
"It's just creating explosive growth rates," he says.