Wildfire season is always a big concern here in Arizona and it will be again next year thanks to La Nina.
La Nina has set in and forecasts call for it to bring the Desert Southwest a warmer and drier winter than normal.
To make matters worse, El Nino gave us a very wet winter last year leading to a big "green-up" and much of that brush did not burn during our last relatively quiet wildfire season.
So, there will be plenty of dry fuel to burn next year.
Fire officials are already preparing.
Clay Templin with the Tonto National Forest says they spend this time of year doing prescribed fire fuel treatments targeting high priority areas next to communities.
"We try to go ahead and reduce the amount of hazardous fuels that could be available for a wildfire in the summer," Templin says.
Impacts on our long-term drought are another big concern with La Nina.
Connie Woodhouse, a climate scientist at the University of Arizona, says part of the reason our drought conditions have been so noticeable is because we've had variations of dry winters and dry summers over the past decade.
"Certainly the dry winters are important when we have things like this La Nina because they are going to impact the winter rains that are important for water supply," Woodhouse says.
Stay with ABC15 on air and online for updates on La Nina as we track it into next year.
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