Droughts worry fire officials

Dry winters prompt wildfire warnings along both coasts

BALTIMORE | April 1, 2013

Very dry conditions have fire officials on both coasts warning of an early and particularly severe wildfire season.

In Central Florida, firefighters battled more than a dozen fires Monday. So far this year, weather forecasters report the Orlando area has seen just 2.18 inches of rain, far below the normal 8.5 inches of rain the region normally records by the end of March. Orange and Seminole Counties have been named "very high" on the state's fire danger index by the state Forest Service.

In California, the National Weather Service reports the southern part of the state is particularly ripe for severe fires. The past winter was very dry for the San Diego area which is seen less than 70 percent of the average rainfall by this time of the year.

Fires have already broken out in Riverside County, California. A Feb 28 fire along the Santa Ana River, damaged homes.

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