Severe drought could bring another extreme fire season

, Written by Roma Villavicencio, Posted: Fri, January 17 2014 at 10:26 PM, Updated: Fri, January 17 2014 at 11:17 PM

JACKSON COUNTY, Ore. -- Brett Lutz with the National Weather Service says Southern Oregon is in a severe drought. Even though it's cold and damp we're not seeing rain.

"If we have these same conditions going into summer you know, with deficits as bad as they are now or more severe without recent precipitation we may go into exceptional drought conditions," said Lutz.

Conditions that Southern California is already dealing with. Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency Friday. And here in Oregon this drought could make for another extreme fire season.

"The way it's looking now if this continues we'll have dryness affecting the upper elevations too and that will add another component to fire season," said Jim Whittington with the Bureau of Land Management.

Last summer flames burned nearly 100,000 acres in Jackson, Josephine, and Douglas counties. Bureau of Land Management employees say they're already thinking ahead and getting back on track is starting to look less likely.

"We're so far below normal that even if we have normal precept and snow fall from here on out for the rest of the winter and spring we wouldn't catch up."

For now Whittington says he and his team can only watch and wait.

"We'll be watching hoping on some really good spring rains to kind of give us some buffer in there and we'll take whatever we can get."


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About the Author

Roma Villavicencio

NBC5 News reporter Roma Villavicencio comes from Southern California where she reported for Garden Grove TV Channel 3.

She is a graduate of the journalism/communications program at Cal State Fullerton.

Roma is very proud of her Mexican heritage. She is bi-lingual and looks forward to serving our Hispanic community.

She loves food, music and the San Francisco Giants. She lives by the slogan “viva la vida!”

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