Dry winter sparks governor's wildfire season concerns

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(3TV/CBS 5) -

You don't have to be a meteorologist to know how painfully dry it has been in Phoenix and in the state.

Flagstaff has seen the second driest winter in recorded history and no major storms are on the horizon.

If you live in the mountains you probably are already thinking about fire season and how the dry weather will impact it.

You are not alone.

On Thursday, Gov. Doug Ducey said he will ask the state legislature for more money in anticipation of a potentially active wildfire season.

The governor will also look at additional federal dollars that could be used to help reduce fire risk.

“After experiencing an unusually dry winter, we need to commit to giving the Department of Forestry and Fire Management the tools they need to prevent and battle these catastrophic fires,” he said.

[RELATED: Arizona's Family weather blogs]

Last winter we had more rain and snow which caused grasses and small plants to grow like crazy. That led to a pretty busy fire season at the lower elevations in the desert scrub.

We didn’t see a lot of those massive forest fires though. The large trees tend to hold moisture a bit better than smaller plants and grasses.

But this year the large ponderosa pines and mixed conifer have had plenty of time to dry out with the lack of snowpack and moisture.

There is still time to try and get some snow in the mountains but the weather clock is ticking.

Let’s hope for more storms and a quiet fire season down the road.

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Ian SchwartzAn Arizona native, born and raised in Mesa, and graduate of Arizona State University, Ian Schwartz is thrilled to be back in the Valley of the Sun.

Click to learn more about Ian.

Ian Schwartz
Wake Up Meteorologist

After starting his journalism career in Illinois, Ian worked in Albuquerque and later Sacramento. In the field as a reporter, he has covered flash floods, blizzards, tornadoes, wildfires, drought and just about everything the weather can offer. After spending some time reporting, Ian decided to further his education and completed Mississippi State's broadcast meteorology program. Ian loves everything about Arizona weather from winter storms in the north to the monsoon in the south. When Ian isn't giving you the forecast in the morning, you can find him hiking, traveling and exploring everything our great state has to offer. If you have any weather pictures or want to say hi, drop him an email or connect online.

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