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John Wheeler, WDAY, Published May 10 2013

Weather Talk: Lack of rain in California portends long fire season

Winter is the rainy season in California. But this past winter brought very little rain to the southwestern region. The result will likely be a long, active and probably very expensive fire season.

Already this year, more than 840 fires have occurred in the state of California, about 320 more than the five-year average. California is fire-prone because it has a climate in which virtually all the precipitation occurs during the winter season. If the winter is dry, the following summer can bring many brush and forest fires.

Often, the worst part of California’s fire season is in the fall when many months have passed without rain. Also in fall, strong high-pressure systems over the southern Rockies can create a situation in which strong easterly winds produce a combination of very high temperatures and very low humidity, which often cause fires to burn out of control.

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