Rainfall may not make a difference in the current drought

Rainfall may not make a difference in the current drought

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The past few days brought a major change in the Oklahoma weather.

And the rainfall has a lot of people hopeful. Especially those recovering from the wildfire that tore through Guthrie earlier this month.

"It's gonna help a lot," said Wesley Rose, who lives in one of the damaged neighborhoods.

The city lost more than 3,500 acres to the fire.

And residents say the rain is a promise of a new beginning. Through the ashes you can even see some green popping up, helped by the recent rain.

But firefighters say the threat is far from over

"It's a dent, but not what we need," said Fire Chief Eric Harlow.

Harlow keeps a close watch on the weather. Last Thursday more than half the state was in extreme or exceptional drought.

And despite the rain, ponds in Guthrie continue to run dry. Harlow says that's because the rainfall totals show the precipitation has been hit or miss.

"We need another 2-3 inches to get us up to where we oughta be," Harlow said. 
 
Oklahoma State Forester George Geissler says it's too early to tell whether the rain will make any sustainable difference in the drought. The new index comes out Thursday mornings and the full information will  not be available until then.

Geissler says more than likely when the rain stops and everything dries out again the state will be right back where it started.

And Harlow warns of another danger. He says the wildfire left behind a valuable lesson: a nice, rainy spring can turn deadly if the new growth gets a chance to dry out.

"Things had grown so thick and so lush and once they dry out, just because they dry out and die, it doesn't mean they go away it just makes them more flammable to us," he said.

Despite the warnings,  people near the affected areas are optimistic. They say the rain is just what they need to start bringing Guthrie back to life.

"It's gonna get better," Rose said.

In the meantime, the Governor's burn ban is still in effect for most of central and western Oklahoma. The ban expires June 5.

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