N. Arizona shortage of snow, rain could increase wildfire risk later

FLAGSTAFF, AZ - If you went to Flagstaff today, you may be confused about what season you are in with the lack of snow on the ground and warm temperatures. 

It's been 40 days without snowfall, making it the longest dry weather period during a winter season for the ski town. 

We found the lack of moisture now could cause other problems later in the year.

Vic Morfin with the Coconino National Forest says, "Right now it is looking fairly bleak and that means we could have a very severe wildfire season."

Morfin says that statewide we only have about 50 percent snowpack and we will need more snow to reduce the risk of wildfires going into the late spring and summer.

On average, five to six feet of snow will be needed over the next several months.

"February and March are typically the two months with the highest snowfall amounts, but March and April snow are much more important, and that's what really makes or breaks fire season so to speak," Morfin said.

If Arizona doesn't get enough snow in the next few months, forest officials could also implement fire restrictions, though there are none in place at this time. He says typically those tend to be issued in May or June.

For now, there is still hope that Mother Nature will come through with snow over the next six to eight weeks.

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