Low Moisture Increasing Wildfire Danger

- AMARILLO -- The warmer weather and lack of moisture is raising the wildfire danger.

        The moisture we got last year is literally adding fuel to the fire danger.

        The state climatologist, John Nielsen-Gammon says the panhandle is in its driest three year period since they began keeping records.

        We're actually in a dry period right now, January and February, which is normal for us but, we're already a half inch below normal in the precipitation department and it only looks like it's getting worse.

        The latest U.S. drought monitor for Texas shows almost the entire panhandle still in some form of drought.

        Most of the vegetation either burned or dried-up in 2011 during a very busy wildfire season.

        But, with the rains we got last year that means the vegetation will grow adding fuel to any wildfire that may break out.

        Nielsen-Gammon says our best bet is to get some moisture this spring which isn't completely out of the question.

        "The long term prospects really are not very good for the next several years because of the patterns of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans  which only change about every couple of decades."  Nielsen-Gammon said.

        Nielsen Gammon says springtime moisture will not only help with the wildfire danger but, also help farmers and ranchers who were devastated 3-years ago.

        The second driest three year period in panhandle history was 1954-1956 followed by the Dust Bowl years of 1933-1935.

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