Wet, snowy winter could help dampen start of fire season in 2023

SOUTHERN OREGON, Ore. – A wet winter could mean a later start to fire season this year.

The Oregon Department of Forestry said it’s too early to predict when fire season will begin.

Traditionally, fire season starts no later than June 1.

Last year, a wet spring led to the season starting closer to June, despite recent trends of it starting earlier.

ODF said we will likely see the first fires of the year in the lower parts of the Rogue Valley, due to low snow accumulation.

But record snow packs in the higher elevation areas could help reduce wildfire risks to begin the season.

“That’s just going to mean more water content right now in the soil and vegetation up there and a little bit trickling down into the valleys,” ODF spokesperson Natalie Weber said. “Which is great, that means that we’re probably not going to see that risk for fires at higher elevations too soon.”

Weber said the weather in the next several weeks will help determine when fire season could start.

ODF believes there won’t be an early start this year, unless weather conditions in April┬áchange dramatically.

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NBC5 News reporter Zachary Larsen grew up in Surprise, Arizona. He graduated from Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism. At ASU, Zack interned at Arizona Sports 98.7FM and Softball America. During his Junior year, Zack joined the ASU Sports Bureau. He covered the Fiesta Bowl, the Phoenix Open and major basketball tournaments. Zack enjoys working out, creative writing, music, and rooting for his ASU Sun Devils.
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