PHOENIX — Arizona is heading into the teeth of the 2013 wildfire season after several days of heat, single digit humidity and wind.
Jim Paxon with Arizona Game and Fish has been on some of the largest wildfires in American history, including the 2002 Rodeo-Chediski fire that burned almost a half-million acres and hundreds of homes in eastern Arizona. Paxon didn’t mince words, saying we are going to have a lot of wildfires this year. It is bone-dry and all is takes is a spark.
“If we have ignitions on the windy days, fires are going to get large and threaten communities. That’s what we want to avoid,” he said.
In other words, there is nothing they can do about lightning starts but Paxon said people are going to have to be very careful with fire.
Paxon said some places are now seeing tinderbox conditions and it’s only going to get worse.
“We are at 45 percent of rainfall on a 50-year average,” he said. “I’m very concerned about the desert areas where you get up into the chaparral and pinion juniper. Areas like Payson, Grand Canyon region and Globe, among others.”
Paxon doesn’t expect a repeat of 2011, when more than one million acres burned in Arizona’s worst wildfire season on record.
Bill Van Bruggen, regional fire director of the Forest Service in Arizona and New Mexico, said they will be staging crews at a moment’s notice to areas that are ready to go up.
“We are going to preposition crews and aircraft to areas based on severity,” he said. “For example, ahead of a weather event we see. This was used very successfully on the 2011 Wallow Fire when we brought in thousands of firefighters within 24 hours. It could be an active fire season. This long-term drought is really affecting the potential for large fires and we could see large fires that we’ve seen in the past few years.”
Van Bruggen said a DC-10 that was former commercial airliner and is now a firefighting air tanker should be staged at Phoenix Mesa Gateway Airport by the end of May.
- Stretches and exercises for carpal tunnel syndrome
- The best Major League ballparks have their own personality
- Comparing the best regular seasons: The '96 Bulls and '16 Warriors
- 3 Arizona road trips and the vehicles to get you there
- Colon cancer is preventable. Check these signs and symptoms to stay healthy.
- 6 of the biggest skin cancer myths
- Affordable small home makeover ideas
- Locals helping locals: 6 success stories you need to know about
- Sunscreen facts that could save your life
- 6 energy saving hacks for your home
- 5 tips for choosing a company to end your timeshare
- Overlooked water tips to save you money
- 5 of the most adored gentlemen in professional sports today
- The real danger of sitting at your desk
- Most surprising NBA playoff performances of the last 40 years
- 11 classic baseball movies you must see again
- Finally getting rid of fat: 3 methods that actually work
- 4 reasons cancer survivors should focus on food
- 5 spring cleaning spots everyone forgets
- 5 reasons to look forward to watching the D-backs this season
- Common virus attributed to spike in head and neck cancers
- 5 signs it’s time to end your timeshare ownership
- 3 most overlooked ways to keep your home healthy
- 6 ways the air in your home could be making you sick
- CrossFit dangers: 5 common injuries and how to deal with them
- Today's radiation treatments offer better success, fewer side effects
- Tips to make watching TV on the patio even better
- What really happens when you donate to a community college?
- Sun and skin cancer: Separating fact from fiction
- 5 critical lifestyle changes for a healthy colon