Dry winter in SoCal could bring early wildfire conditions, experts say

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Southern California has had a wet December and now experts believe we could see drier conditions over the next few months, which could bring fire conditions by April.

Last month was the Southland's wettest December in nearly 10 years. The rain is good for the drought, but forecasters say they would rather see the rain more spread out over the winter months.

"It causes problems, mainly with flooding, we can also get issues with with all the rainfalls on burn scars, it can cause debris flows," Casey Oswant from the National Weather Service says.

Now forecasters say weather patterns over the Pacific indicate there could be less rain in January and February. And temperatures could be warmer than normal through spring.

"If we have less rain, it could impact what we kind of start to see in the fire weather season," according to Oswant.

This means the region will get new vegetation from all the recent rain, but it might dry out if we don't get more rain.

"As a result we could see in earlier than normal fire season beginning potentially in April, however that's not something that's completely out of the norm. We've seen it in years past," Sean Ferguson, a firefighter with Los Angeles County Fire says.

The Predictive Services wildfire outlook shows Southern California has a higher chance of fires in the next few months.

Firefighters say they are quite aware of the weather forecasts. If they see a dry winter over the next few months they are ready to place crews in high-risk areas.

"Pre-positioning assets is key for us because in order to fight these fires effectively we like to knock them down as quickly as possible," says Ferguson.
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