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Fire marshal: Arizona’s wildfire danger escalating

PHOENIX — There’s growing concern in communities like Heber-Overgaard, Pinetop, Lakeside, Show Low and other high country communities as the heat wave sets in.

Pinetop Fire Marshal Kelly Wood said store-bought notebook paper has more moisture in it than the humidity in that area.

“Notebook paper has 12 percent humidity and, right now, we’re at 9 percent humidity here.”

Wood said fire conditions are worse than they were two years ago when the Wallow Fire burned almost 550,000 acres in eastern Arizona. It become the largest fire in state history.

“Our energy release components show that there is a 95 percent chance that any spark that hits the ground would start a fire,” said Wood. “During 2002, that number was at 98 percent and we had the 470,000-acre Rodeo-Chediski Fire. During the 2011 Wallow Fire, we were at 89 percent.”

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