Small brush fire in Bay Area punctuates Northern California's driest February on record

Rong-Gong Lin II
A brush fire burns Friday at San Bruno County and State Park south of San Francisco.  (North County Fire Authority)

A six-acre brush fire slowly burned Friday at San Bruno State and County Park south of San Francisco — a blaze highly unusual for this time of year, in what should be the middle of the rainy season, officials said.

No evacuations were ordered, but the sight of a wildfire at this time of year in the Bay Area is extremely rare.

"That we're seeing *any* wildfire activity in northern California is extremely unusual — let alone this kind of very active fire behavior currently occurring <10 miles from downtown San Francisco," tweeted Daniel Swain, climatologist with UCLA, the National Center for Atmospheric Research and the Nature Conservancy.

Northern California is facing its driest February on record, and areas of California already have relatively dry vegetation. The Bay Area has also been remarkably warm in recent days, with San Francisco International Airport reaching 76 degrees on Thursday, breaking the record of 75 degrees for that date set in 1992.

The fire, reported about 10 a.m. Friday, was burning near a picnic area and by the afternoon, firefighters had a control line surrounding the fire. A California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection helicopter made water drops, and smoke was visible across San Mateo County, officials said.

"This is an unusual time of year for a wildfire. This is a STARK REMINDER that we need to be prepared!," tweeted Cal Fire's San Mateo-Santa Cruz unit.

The North County Fire Authority, which handles fires for Brisbane, Daly City and Pacifica, said 60 firefighters were on the scene.

A wet spell may soon come. The National Weather Service said there's a slight to moderate chance of heavy precipitation across much of California during the second week of March.