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Sat, Feb. 23
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Column: Weather conjures summer reminders

Putting the Page 2A weather report together this past week brought about surprise for me — seeing every day’s forecast with only sunshine.

The warmer days are bearing down on us, making me think of four things: the drying out that comes with May and June; the subsequent risk of wildfires; the “World’s Oldest Rodeo;” car seats and the dash heating to the point of burning.

All are related to a degree — temperature that is.

The natural grasses that grow on my property out Williamson Valley way are drying to the point of going to seed and becoming a fire hazard.

Reminder No. 1: Create defensible space on your property – clearing (at least keeping it well mowed) a good 15 to 20 feet from buildings. It’s always a challenge for me to keep 2-plus acres mowed, particularly ahead of any fire restrictions, which prohibit use of mowers (anything that can cause a spark). However, it has to be done.

The risk of wildfire has become a normal thing for us annually this time of year.

Reminder No. 2: Don’t toss cigarette butts or do anything (like dragging trailer chains) that can ignite nearby or roadside vegetation; don’t park your hot vehicle on grasses or weeds that can cause them to burst into flames; and, have at least essentials, keepsakes, and medications packed in a go-bag in case of evacuation (in 2013 authorities had us bug out for nearly a week because of the Doce Fire).

Prescott Frontier Days, the “World’s Oldest Rodeo,” is great fun and the June 28-July 4 performances (the first night is Courier Night!) come with either sweltering heat or monsoon relief.

Reminder No. 3: Buy your rodeo tickets now (928-445-4320); buy them for Courier Night at our offices (coming soon!); wear sunscreen and a hat (imperative for us bald guys); and, be prepared for the weather, which around here can change so quickly it makes meteorologists’ heads spin.

Car seats and the dash! They can get so hot your skin can cook on them (it’s an Arizona thing). I remember living in Lake Havasu City decades ago and driving around without air conditioning in my truck – vinyl seats, no a/c, and temps above 90 (try 120 or more!) do not mix.

Reminder No. 4: A good window shade/screen works wonders; we cook more than eggs on sidewalks here, I think I have permanent scars from hot car seats; and, be sure to call relatives and tell them how hot it is here (last week we were in the 70s, while family in Colorado had 6 to 15 inches of snow!).

PARTING SHOT — Spoke last week with my dad, who was helping to move my step-sister to Washington, D.C. for a new job. He groused about not being able to find a parking spot for his truck and trailer in that busy city. I told him to go to the White House (President Trump had just left for Syria).

He laughed and then I remembered it was 25 years ago when President Bill Clinton permanently closed the two-block stretch of Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House as a security measure.

You just never know what’s going to happen. Dad ended up finding a spot 10 blocks from where he wanted to be. On top of that, it was in the 90s with 70 percent humidity, and today they have an 80 percent chance of rain.

I guess the weather anywhere is never perfect.

Have a great week.

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