Santa Rosa’s fire chief says that the heavy rains that hit the region this year probably contributed to a rather tame fire season, and his department has officially declared the end of it this week.

By calling an end to the season, any weed abatement orders for residents are now suspended, and in the coming weeks, burn permits may be issued if conditions are satisfactory.  

“Our community benefited from significant rainfall this year,” said Fire Chief Scott Westrope. “Although we responded to several vegetation fires this year, the activity locally was minimal, and we have the weather and our community to thank.” 

The Santa Rosa Fire Department first announced the start of wildfire season on June 5 – based on local conditions and later than the previous year, due to late Spring rains, the city said. 

Westrope said this years’ rains kept heavy brush, trees and timber somewhat moist, but he also gave some credit to residents who created “defensible space” around their property and kept seasonal grass cut.  

Weed abatement inspections were halted as of Tuesday. The fire department anticipates that pile burning will be permissible starting in late November in permitted locations within the City of Santa Rosa, provided regional fire agencies are on board as well. 

The pile burning ordinance allows property owners to burn vegetative debris as a limited method to reduce the threat of wildfires, the city said. 

“Our community benefited from significant rainfall this year. Although we responded to several vegetation fires this year, the activity locally was minimal, and we have the weather and our community to thank.” 

Fire Chief Scott Westrope

The state’s regional fire service, Cal Fire Sonoma-Lake-Napa, agrees that the wet weather this year made a significant dent in their normal calls to stop big blazes. This year, there were 340 wildfires that burned 657 acres, a “significant” reduction in fire activity for a third year in a row.  

For comparison, Cal Fire LNU said that between 2015 and 2020, an average of 172,827 acres burned in the region per year.  

For additional information on pile burning and what preparedness measures are recommended for property owners before the next fire season, view the Santa Rosa Fire Department’s Wildfire Ready online information center at

Katy St. Clair got her start in journalism by working in the classifieds department at the East Bay Express during the height of alt weeklies, then sweet talked her way into becoming staff writer, submissions editor, and music editor. She has been a columnist in the East Bay Express, SF Weekly, and the San Francisco Examiner. Starting in 2015, she begrudgingly scaled the inverted pyramid at dailies such as the Vallejo Times-Herald, The Vacaville Reporter, and the Daily Republic. She has her own independent news site and blog that covers the delightfully dysfunctional town of Vallejo, California, where she also collaborates with the investigative team at Open Vallejo. A passionate advocate for people with developmental disabilities, she serves on both the Board of the Arc of Solano and the Arc of California. She lives in Vallejo.