Cal Fire suspends burn permits due to dry weather

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (AP) — The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection has suspended burn permits, citing dry conditions and a sharp increase in vegetation fires.

The agency issued a ban Monday on 31 million acres of state property and private land in Alameda, Contra Costa, Santa Clara, San Mateo and Santa Cruz counties as well as parts of Stanislaus and San Joaquin counties.

Cal Fire officials say the region has been experiencing record-breaking low rainfall, low humidity, dry fuel moisture levels and increased fire activity.

The agency also says in Santa Cruz County alone, there have been 31 vegetation fires in November and December, about half of which involved blazes relating to burning debris.

Typically, there would be five to seven such fires.

Officials say campfires are still allowed in organized campgrounds or on private property with landowner permission.