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A number of grass fires this past week may be a signal of an early fire season to come.

As of April 27, total rainfall at PDX since January 1 is 8.33 inches. That amount is only 57 percent of what is considered normal. A year ago, more than 20 inches of rain had fallen, two-and-a-half times more rain than we've had this spring In fact, so far this spring has been our first non-soaker since the spring of 2009.

The latest outlook from the National Weather Service calls for well below normal rainfall this May and below normal precipitation through the months of June and July. The temperature forecast has little confidence but likely favors near normal conditions.

The water year surplus that we quickly built last fall will likely become a deficit this coming week with another stretch of sunny, warm days in the forecast.

The wet spring months of the past few years have led to late starts to the fire season. Experts say a key ingredient to a calm fire year is to have a short season. It is feared that our dry spring and continued dry forecast could make this coming season one of the longest in recent years. Of course fire season is always greatly dependent on human behavior and the number of lightning strikes. One cause we have the power to control, the other one we do not.

KGW Meteorologist Rod Hill, follow me @

www.facebook.com/kgwrodhill

Read more about this week's fire threat: www.kgw.com/news/local/Firefighters-prepping-for-early-fire-season--205030151.html

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