The National Weather Service’s forecast for summer precipitation is equal chances of below- and above-average precipitation from June through August.
Map courtesy National Weather Service

It’s spring, despite May flowers and Tennyson’s views of young men’s thoughts, most of the Hill residents are more likely to be concerned about fire season and prevention. As temperatures warm and abatement inspections begin, fire season becomes a more frequent worry despite the admonition from local fire officials that fire season is year-round in Southern California.

But neither the weather nor the work assignments for fire analytics changes that quickly. Last week, several agencies issued their “predictions” or forecasts for fire threats and dangers from April into summer and early fall.

The National Interagency Fire Center wrote, “Wildfire activity will increase across portions of the nation in April … but begins a westward shift further into the Southwest by month’s end. Periods of concern will be wind events coupled with low humidities that impact fire activity. …

“Elevated potential exists across coastal portions of Southern California where drought continues and across portions of eastern Montana where very dry residual soil conditions exist. …In May and June, the worsening drought conditions across the Southwest will lead to a continuance and expansion of the areas encompassed by an above-normal potential for large fire activity,” the NIFC said in its general summary of fire potential.

In the specific forecast for Southern California, the NIFC noted that the March rains will produce an abundant grass crop, which may dampen fire potential in April. But, “by June, once grasses cure, large fire potential will climb to above normal once again.”

NIFC also mentioned that some weather models indicate that a monsoon season may appear in late summer this year.

Cal Fire’s Southern Operation’s Predictive Services unit foresees “… large fire potential climb[ing] to above normal from south to north, starting in May.”

They also think the drought conditions will strengthen and expand so that “many areas of Southern California [will be] in a D3 (or worse) state.” This forecast also acknowledges that the possible monsoon season in late summer may temporarily mitigate the drought effects.

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