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Ducey declares state of emergency as wildfires burn in Arizona

This photo provided by Wyoming Hot Shots, a member of the Wyoming Hot Shots firefighting crew pauses while battling the Lizard Fire near Willcox, Ariz., June 8, 2017. Thousands of firefighters continue to battle almost 30 wildfires burning throughout Arizona as gusty winds and dried vegetation continue to fuel the blazes. (Kyle Miller/Wyoming Hot Shots via AP)

PHOENIX — Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey declared a state of emergency Friday afternoon so his state could send more resources to battle a number of wildfires.

“I’m issuing [Friday]’s declaration to make sure they have every resource needed to do their jobs and protect our communities,” Ducey said in a release. “Public safety is our top priority, and we will continue to coordinate with state and local emergency response officials to keep Arizonans safe.”

At one point, nearly 30 wildfires burned in the state. Hundreds have been reported statewide this year.

By declaring a state of emergency, Ducey immediately freed $200,000 in emergency funds to go toward firefighting efforts. He also directed the State Emergency Council — made up of state and legislative officials — to provide the Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management as it needs them.

The declaration of emergency would remain in effect until additional funds for firefighting efforts were made available at the start of the new fiscal year on July 1.

More than a dozen major wildfires have been reported in Arizona since April. Ducey praised the efforts of firefighters and officials who have been battling the flames.

“We thank the many brave men and women who have stepped up and responded to wildfires around Arizona,” he said.

Fires have affected nearly every part of the state this year, including the Phoenix metro area. A 1,200-acre fire forced an hourslong closure of both Interstate 17 and the Loop 303 on Thursday.

The map below shows many of the larger fires burning in Arizona.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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