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Phoenix In One Of Driest Winters On Record

Like much of the Southwest, Arizona is in a drought. Phoenix is going through its fourth driest winter since 1870. National Weather Service Meteorologist Andrew Deemer said that since Oct. 1, the Valley has received only 1 inch of rain.

“We usually see closer to 2 to 3 [inches], and you just think up north, the White Mountains or Flagstaff, they’ll normally get quite a bit of snowfall,” he said, adding that this year is different. “Precipitation-wise, we’re looking at half of what we should normally be seeing.”

Deemer doesn’t know yet how this will affect the upcoming fire season, but urges people to be cautious while in the back country, as most wildfires are human caused.

“You know, obey those burn laws. If it’s too dry to burn, don’t try to sneak in a campfire,” he said. “If you’re towing a trailer, you know, make sure you put your chains and stow them properly. Don’t do any outdoor shooting in the desert or the brush.”

Last year, an off-duty border patrol agent target shooting sparked the Sawmill Fire, which burned nearly 50,000 acres in Southern Arizona.

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Stina Sieg was a senior field correspondent at KJZZ from 2013 to 2018.