Dry winter could mean bad fire season for Arizona

Mar 6, 2014, 5:00 AM | Updated: 5:00 am

PHOENIX — Arizona is racing toward a potentially severe wildfire season after a winter that has been quite dry.

Arizona’s so-called wet season typically runs December through February. Until last weekend, the Valley went 70 days without rain and saw several record highs during January and February.

Flagstaff went 39 days without rain or snow, tying a record set in 1917. Climate scientist Mike Crimmins with the University of Arizona said March could bring some late storms but things start to dry up again in April.

“We will start to lose the opportunity to have these cold winter storms move through the region,” he said. “We’re running out of time. I’m worried that we’re shutting down for the season.”

Crimmins is also concerned because the state’s snowpack is at less than 30 percent of normal.

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Dry winter could mean bad fire season for Arizona