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California officials say dry winter makes brush fires more likely

April 20, 2013 at 3:55 PM

LOS ANGELES, April 20 (UPI) -- Firefighters in Los Angeles said the lack of rain has brush drying out at a rate not generally seen until June or July, making wildfire conditions ripe.

Los Angeles Fire Department Capt. Jamie Moore said aerial inspections show large amounts of brush have grown significantly since last year, the Los Angeles Times reported Saturday.

"It is alarming how much the brush has grown since last season," he said. "We have a lot of dry underbrush. We have 20- or 30-foot-tall trees with brush and undergrowth."

State forestry officials said they've responded to 150 more brush fire calls this year than they had by this time last year.

Los Angeles has seen just 5.4 inches of rain, down from a seasonal average of 14 inches.

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