Live fuel moisture (LFM) is important for assessing fire danger. LFM is defined as the percentage of water content to dry matter content in live vegetation.

Sixty percent is considered critical. Santa Barbara County’s average LFM is at 98 percent.

The direct measurement of LFM is done by collecting fresh field samples of Chamise, drying them until all moisture is evaporated, and calculating the water content difference between fresh and dry samples. Field-sampled LFM are gathered at five locations throughout Santa Barbara County. They include Tepesquet, Harris Grade, Cachuma, Refugio and W. Gaviota.

For the second year in a row, California recorded the driest January in its history. No rain fell in many parts of the state in what is normally its wettest month, stoking fears that a four-year drought may not end anytime soon.

During these winter months, the potential and susceptibility for wildfires still exists.

— Capt. David Sadecki is a public information officer for the Santa Barbara County Fire Department.