Wet April in Rogue Valley could keep fire season at bay

SOUTHERN OREGON, —It’s been a rainy week here in southern Oregon. As we near the end of the month, we’re learning if the start of fire season, is on the horizon.

Our winter and spring weather has a direct impact on the start of fire season, according to ODF. That’s what makes it so difficult to pinpoint an exact start date.

A question that’s on everyone’s mind as the end of April nears, when will fire season start?

ODF’s southwest District says if Jackson and Josephine counties continue to see a wet spring with lots of rain, fire season likely won’t start until June.

However, if things begin to dry out at this point, it could be an earlier start, but they’re optimistic.

“The last couple of years we’ve been starting fire season earlier and that’s just because, we’ve seen that dry weather in the spring we didn’t get as much rain last year, and the year before we’ve been fortunate to see systems to come through and more rain this year,” said ODF spokeswoman Natalie Weber.

Weber says it’s typical for ODF to start its season anywhere from mid-may to early June. Last year’s fire season started on May 12. In 2020, it started on May 1st. The two years before that it started on June 1st, which Weber says is the latest fire season can be declared.

With a wet April, fortunately, there’s still time. But ODF is watching closely.

“We’re looking for all of our fuels, how quickly they are drying out in between the systems, and just how much moisture content we have in the soil and vegetation because that is going to directly impact how those fuels burn,” said Weber.

Weber says ODF’s team monitors those conditions year-round, but when it starts to see less and less rain, it keeps a closer eye. Weber says it’s important to start taking precautions now, to prepare for fire season.

She recommends creating defensible space around your property, clearing out your gutters, and keeping your lawn watered and mowed.

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Jenna King is the 6pm anchor and our Feature Reporter at 10pm and 11pm for NBC5 News. Jenna is a Burbank, CA native. She graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in Sports Business. During her time at Oregon she was part of the student-run television station, Duck TV. She also grew her passion for sports through her internship with the PAC 12 Network. When Jenna is not in the newsroom you can find her rooting for her hometown Dodgers, exploring the outdoors or binging on the latest Netflix release.
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