Concerns About Dry Conditions, Predicted Lightning

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RENO -- Dry weather throughout the west is prompting firefighters to remind everyone to try to prevent fires.

"We had one of the driest January, February, Marches on record so while we were enjoying it during that time we are going to be paying for it this summer," forecaster Lindsey Matherly of KOLO said.

Smoke poured into the Reno area Friday morning. The smoke is presumably from the Cedar and Panther Fires in Tehama County, California. At last check, the fires were not threatening any buildings. The Panther Fire is larger of the two, estimated at more than 6-thousand acres.

Reno Fire Chief Michael Hernandez said there is potential for catastrophic fires in the Reno area, even though it's early May.

"In the fire service we're a bit concerned because we didn't get the moisture and the snow," he said.

Hernandez is urging people to clear brush around homes. He also said people should be careful to avoid flicking cigarettes near the dry brush.

While human-cased fires can often be prevented, natural fires may be more difficult to avoid. Dry lightning is forecast for this weekend.

Hernandez said fires can happen at any time of the year.

"These are traditional events that typically don't occur at this time of year so we are trending toward there is no fire-season it's a year-round event," he said.