Every year, firefighters warn homeowners to clear the brush around their homes as fire season approaches. And, it will cost you if you don't.
Kern County has a hot, dry climate, so local firefighters say it's not a matter of if there will be a fire season, but how bad it will be.
Everyone needs to take precautions now or you could end up with a big fine or worse, a pile of ashes where your home once stood.
It was an active fire season last summer. At one point, there were 50 fires when lightning rolled over the Golden Empire, setting it ablaze.
And, this has the potential to be another bad year.
"We're always going to have a bad fire season. It's just how bad it's going to be. If we get a lot of rain then we will get taller, stronger grass. If we don't get so much rain then the bushes will be dry on the inside, just ripe for burning," said Capt. Sean Collins, Kern County Fire Department
As the green grass we have covering the landscape starts to dry out with the warmer weather, it cures and creates even more fuel to burn.
Property owners have until June 15th to clear brush, trees, and other flammables away from their homes. If you don't, you could be looking at a $250 fine.
The fire department isn't looking to make money, but rather give you a fighting chance if a fire breaks out near your home.
"Hazard reduction is 100 feet around your home, or I should say structure, to clear in there. Cut the grass real low, cut trees to a height of six to eight feet so we keep the fire in short grass if it comes through there," said Collins.
He says everything within 30 feet of your home should be free of any combustible material including things you have stored up against your house, under the deck, and even dried leaves left in the gutters and roof lines.