Marin’s Live Fuel Moistures, an important measurement for firefighters that can predict extreme fire behavior during wildfires, reached critical levels September 19, 2016. Measured at 57%, these critically low levels of vegetation moisture are the result of Marin’s normal dry, mediterranean summer, exacerbated by the prolonged drought.
Live fuel moisture content describes the moisture content within living vegetation (“fuel”). Moisture content is among single most important factors determining the amount of fuel available to burn, and how much fuel might be consumed, during a wildfire. Fuel moisture determines if certain vegetation will burn, how quickly and completely it might burn, and what phases of combustion the fuels will support. Live fuel moisture is independent of dead fuels, which also contribute dramatically to wildfires.