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Wed, Feb. 20
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Editorial: It happens every year, so be prepared

Pardon me. Yes, thank you. (Pulls out soap box.)

I do not recall while growing up in Colorado being able to predict weather or bug behavior. It snowed, it rained, and mosquitoes were as common as tornado watches. I suppose I didn’t care much because I was only a kid.

I guess that has changed a bit, since moving to Arizona at the end of 1990 (and living in Prescott since September 1996). I own property, have a family, and I observe things such as recurring patterns:

• The warning of heavy precipitation due to El Niño fizzled this winter, like usual (when they say “snow” in Prescott, for instance, that generally means inches not feet);

• This year, my Easter “freeze,” again, did not disappoint – robbing me of my fruit trees’ bounty;

• May and June – so far – have been dry, as always;

• Over the Memorial Day weekend, I saw my first blister beetle near the barn (they “appear” every year by June 1);

• Any day now, local governments and the Forest Service are likely to institute fire restrictions (last year was an absolute first when they didn’t need to); and,

• The monsoons? They’ll come in early July – meaning during the “World’s Oldest Rodeo,” which is always fun.

I say these things because the “experts” in this world amaze me when they declare, for example, drought conditions have returned (yes, it is June, folks) or “rising temperatures are ahead, beware of wildfires” (uh, huh).

Have we seen much rainfall this year? A fair share? OK, and May was normally dry.

Have fire departments been battling man’s mistakes and lightning-caused fires already? Yes, we’ve had several small fires (even repeats in and near Granite Creek Park).

With summer-like weather returning this week, the southern and western parts of the state will bake under triple-digit temperatures and our predictable hot, arid conditions also will affect the high country – drying out grasses, weeds and logs in our yards and on the forest floor.

What’s the point? Let’s say, telling you to be safe out there would be nothing new. Reminding our readers to avoid creating sparks or discarding cigarettes would be boring.

“Naw, tell them it happens every year,” I thought. It’s almost like the movies “Groundhog Day” or “50 First Dates.”

We stand to observe the same problems, such as wildfires during drought-like conditions, if we continue to do the same things. (The definition of insanity.)

I suppose this is all for the newbies. Long-term residents already know what I am talking about, right? Yes, and too bad fire doesn’t know that too.

Be safe out there. (Puts soap box away.)

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