Dry Winter Could Lead to More Fires

 - January 31, 2007, 8:20 AM

Although excessive rainfall and mudslides have hit Southern California hard this winter, near-record lows in rain and snowfall elsewhere in the west are increasing the risk of forest fires. A Columbia Helicopters spokesman said, “There have already been several fast-moving grass fires in the area. If these conditions continue–and forecasts say they will–we will have tinder-dry forests that are ripe for fires.

“Last summer did not feature the extreme weather conditions that we experienced in previous years–it was hot but not that dry. We were also able to hit the majority of the fires early and hard, essentially knocking them down before they could grow to any significant size. Other than a non-managed fire in Alaska, nothing came even close to
causing problems last season.

“Crews told me that the Forest Service was thrilled with the results of the helicopters’ initial attack role,” he sa