Drought and Wildfires Pt 2

Drought and Wildfires Pt 2

Bob Larson
Bob Larson
With today’s Fruit Grower Report, I’m Bob Larson. Drought conditions are a reality across Eastern Washington to varying degrees, depending on where you are. But, with memories of last summer still fresh in many minds, what about the threat of wildfires this year?

Cliff Mass, University of Washington atmospheric sciences professor, isn’t AS worried we could see a repeat …

MASS … “That was extremely unusual, those winds. The chance of repeating that this year is much, much less, especially since it looks like we’ll have a neutral year not a La Nina year. So, I think the chance of those kind of strong winds that caused the devastation in Eastern Washington and Western Oregon is much less than last year.”

But, Mass says that doesn’t mean that it’s not dry …

MASS … “And it’s also, dryness can be an advantage to. I mean, the fact that it was a dry spring worked against grass growth, right. So, if there’s less grass than that reduces the fire risk.”

Really, Mass says it’s what we’re used to …

MASS … “I mean, when you get into the middle of summer, it’s always dry in Eastern Washington. I mean, it’s always dry. So, the dryness is kind of immaterial here really. Where it’s really more important is, did you have a wet spring and winter that produced a lot of grass? I mean, we didn’t so that’s good. And, are you going to get the really strong winds. Well, there’s no reason to think we will.”

Bottom line, Mass says the fire situation is much more favorable than last year.

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