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State climatologist links holiday wildfire risk to climate change

Oklahoma Forestry Service

Oklahoma’s climatologist says there will be significant fire risk in the state on Christmas Eve and climate change is a reason.

With a hot, dry, windy day forecasted Friday and lots of dead vegetation around, Gary McManus said conditions are great for wildfire.

La Niña is partly to blame, said McManus, but a pattern supporting extreme weather is being established.

“When we want to talk about climate change, we want to look at the long term trends, and over the last five or six years we have had very terrible fire seasons," said McManus.

The high on Christmas Eve will be near 78 degrees according to the National Weather Service.

Before joining Public Radio Tulsa, Elizabeth Caldwell was a freelance reporter and a teacher. She holds a master's from Hollins University. Her audio work has appeared at KCRW, CBC's The World This Weekend, and The Missouri Review. She is a south Florida native.