MEDFORD, Ore. — It’s a record: the driest start to any calendar year in Medford history is taking place right now, coming off a wet end to 2012.
Despite the dry start to the calendar year, the area is just above average for the water year. Last year, fire season began in Southern Oregon on June 30th, after a wet spring. This year, fire officials are not anticipating an early start to fire season despite the dry January, February and March.
The National Weather Service says, as of today, at just 1.63 inches, this is the driest start to a calendar year in Medford history. The precipitation amount is more than 4 inches under the average of just over five and three – quarter inches. Officials with the Oregon Department of Forestry says they take more into consideration than just the rain in the water gauges.
ODF officials recommend using this time of year to make sure grass is cut, gutters are clear of debris, and other potential fire fuels are removed. Regionally it has been among the driest times as well. Roseburg is experiencing the 3rd driest start and Mount Shasta the second driest start to a calendar year.