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One for the record books

Not that anyone's surprised, but this summer has been the hottest on record in Medford.

The average temperature in June, July and August was 76.4 degrees, the highest since records started being kept in Medford in 1911, according to the National Weather Service. That figure represents the average of daily high and low temperatures during the period.

The previous hottest years were 2014, at 74.9 degrees, and 2013, at 74 degrees.

"There have been three years (of broken records) consecutively," said meteorologist Misty Duncan. 

Residents sweltered through 18 days of triple-digit temperatures, five of them in June, 10 in July, and three in August, Duncan said. The all-time record for 100-degree days was 23, set in 1990.

Record high nighttime temperatures helped push up 2015's average, Duncan said. Fourteen nights broke records for warmest low temperatures, the highest of which was 76 degrees June 28.

June's record-setting average temperature of 74.8 degrees was mostly responsible for this summer's all-time record. July's average of 78.4 degrees was the third-hottest July of all time (the top spot still belongs to July 2014, when the average for the month was 79.9 degrees). August's 75.9-degree average was only the seventh hottest August. 

"August probably finished off so low because of this nice weather we've had these past few days," Duncan said. 

For the curious, the lowest average temperature for June, July and August in the past 105 years is 66 degrees, recorded in 1947.

The record average temperatures, low snowpack and lack of rainfall in the region contributed to a hyperactive wildfire season, with hundreds of thousands of acres burned across Oregon.

The two active fires closest to Medford, the Stouts fire and National Creek complex, continued to edge closer to full containment Tuesday. Fire officials reported the human-caused Stouts fire, 16 miles from Canyonville, was 92 percent contained. The lightning-sparked National Creek complex, burning on the northwest edge of Crater Lake National Park, was 65 percent contained.  

It could be more of the same come next year, weather officials have said. Current long-term forecast models show higher probabilities for warmer-than-normal temperatures over the next year. 

Reach reporter Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or rpfeil@mailtribune.com. Follow him at www.twitter.com/ryanpfeil.