Hot temperatures could lead to a more significant fire season

Medford, Ore. — The sunny, hot weather is an exciting change for those sick of the rain.

But high temperatures now could also mean we’re in for a hot, dry summer.

Wednesday was the hottest day of 2017 to date.

Meteorologist Sven Nelaimischkies with the National Weather Service says while a high of 90 degrees is not unusual for early May it can be a surprise for our bodies.

“Quite a shock to our system… it is to mine. To be close to 90 degrees after we’ve been wet and cold the entire past four months or longer,”┬áMeteorologist Sven Nelaimischkies said.

Looking ahead to Summer, Nelaimischkies says temperatures are predicted to be above normal which could feed into fire season.

But according to Melissa Cano with the Oregon Department of Forestry, all the moisture from the winter months is likely to postpone fire season a little past its average start date of early June.

“We have this great precipitation… we have a wonderful snow pack that’s taking longer than usual to melt off… so all of that is good for the start of fire season,” Melissa Cano said.

However, more water also means more growth.

Once August hits, Cano predicts all the grass and brush will be longer and thicker.

“When we do hit that week or two of those high temperatures, that means it’s gonna dry those fields out and they’re gonna burn a lot better than maybe they typically would with lighter precipitation,”┬áCano said.

But when all is said and done, Cano says it’s still hard to be sure how extreme fire season will be when we’re still a month away from summer.

As for this weekend, temperatures are dipping back down.

“We’re expecting the roller coaster to go back down as we head into the end of the week and in the weekend we’re looking for high temperatures below 60 probably,” Nelaimischkies said.

To prepare for fire season, the Oregon Department of Forestry recommends clearing out dried weeds and brush around your house.

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