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Dry winter could mean bad fire season for Arizona

PHOENIX -- Arizona is racing toward a potentially severe wildfire season after a winter that has been quite dry.

Arizona's so-called wet season typically runs December through February. Until last weekend, the Valley went 70 days without rain and saw several record highs during January and February.

Flagstaff went 39 days without rain or snow, tying a record set in 1917. Climate scientist Mike Crimmins with the University of Arizona said March could bring some late storms but things start to dry up again in April.

"We will start to lose the opportunity to have these cold winter storms move through the region," he said. "We're running out of time. I'm worried that we're shutting down for the season."

Crimmins is also concerned because the state's snowpack is at less than 30 percent of normal.

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About the Author


Position: Senior News Reporter. Started with KTAR July 4, 1999.

Favorite spots in Arizona: Pinetop-Lakeside, Alpine, Greer.

Have covered some of the biggest stories in Arizona including nine of the top 10 largest wildfires in state history. The Wallow Fire in 2011 became the largest fire in state history. Rodeo-Chediski Fire in June 2002, which is the second largest fire in Arizona. Covered the Yarnell Hill Tragedy in June 2013 that left 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots dead.

Favorite movies: True Grit, both 1969 John Wayne classic and the remake with Jeff Bridges and Lonesome Dove.

Sports Teams: Washington State University Cougars, Texas Longhorns, The University of Montana Grizzlies.

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