ARIZONA NEWS

With wildfire season looming, Arizona officials urge public to be cautious

Mar 22, 2021, 5:30 PM | Updated: Mar 23, 2021, 7:12 am
A view of the Bighorn Fire burning in the Catalina Mountains on June 11, 2020, in Tucson, Arizona. ...
A view of the Bighorn Fire burning in the Catalina Mountains on June 11, 2020, in Tucson, Arizona. (Photo by Jacob Snow/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
(Photo by Jacob Snow/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

PHOENIX (AP) — Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey and state forestry officials urged the public Monday to be extra wary because of a looming wildfire season that has the potential to be exceptionally devastating due to widespread drought.

There is very little snowpack in the ponderosa pine forests that cover large parts of northern and eastern Arizona, and portions of the state with grasslands that haven’t burned recently are loaded with years of growth dried out by low rainfall.

“Most of the state is experiencing extreme to exceptional drought,” said John Truett, the fire management officer for the Department of Forestry and Fire Management. “We’re looking at a very severe potential out there for wildland fires and rapid fire spread across the landscape.”

The department is predicting an early fire season in central and southern Arizona that could kick up as early next month as temperatures rise. There is a potential for widespread, statewide fire activity by June. On the plus side, there are indications that this year’s summer monsoon rains will won’t repeat the no-show of last year, which led to an extended fire season through the fall.

Ducey urged the public to boost their awareness of ignition sources as they head to the mountains for camping, fishing and other activities by making sure campfires are completely out, and he urged property owners to clear a 100-foot space around buildings to give fire crews a chance to save them should a wildfire approach.

“Just this month, 100 people had to be evacuated and a state route had to be closed because of fire in the Tonto Basin,” Ducey said. “This threat is real, it is present, and we’re taking steps to reduce the risk of wildfires is our communities.”

Those steps include plans to boost fuels reduction efforts next year with $24 million included in “Healthy Forests” legislation he signed earlier this month. The program will use up to 700 state prison inmates to clear overgrown areas and reduce fire risk.

The inmate crews build on wildland fire crew programs in the Department of Corrections, Rehabilitation and Reentry that Ducey has touted for their success in providing job training and opportunities for inmates when they are released.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

(CVS Health Photos)...
KTAR.com

Affordable housing development in south Phoenix holds grand opening

UMOM New Day Centers held a grand opening ceremony Wednesday for an affordable housing development in south Phoenix.
23 hours ago
This Spicy Korean Fried Chicken Sandwich is part of the new food menu approved by the NFL for the S...
Brandon Brown/Phoenix Business Journal

First look: State Farm Stadium ups the ante on Super Bowl food, beverage offerings

Those attending the NFL’s championship game, which will be played in Glendale on Sunday, can expect an elevated food and beverage menu.
23 hours ago
(Facebook Photo/City of Mesa Police Department)...
KTAR.com

4 Mesa children reported missing found in Texas, father arrested

Four Valley children who were reported missing earlier this week were found safe in Texas, authorities said Wednesday. 
23 hours ago
(Phoenix Police Department Photo)...
KTAR.com

Phoenix woman who was subject of December Silver Alert found safe

Authorities canceled a Silver Alert for a missing Phoenix woman on Wednesday, two months after it was issued.
23 hours ago
(AP Photo/Matt York)...
Danny Shapiro

Spending limit lifted this year for Arizona public schools after Senate vote

The aggregate expenditure limit for public schools this year was lifted Wednesday, allowing districts to avoid massive budget cuts.
23 hours ago
Disturbed (Live Nation Photo)...
KTAR.com

Disturbed to hit Phoenix this summer on Take Back Your Life Tour

It's going to be sick when Disturbed brings its brand of chugging heavy metal to Phoenix's Talking Stick Resort Amphitheatre this summer.
23 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Fiesta Bowl Foundation

Celebrate 50 years of Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade magic!

Since its first production in the early 1970s, the Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade presented by Lerner & Rowe has been a staple of Valley traditions, bringing family fun and excitement to downtown Phoenix.
(Desert Institute for Spine Care photo)...
DESERT INSTITUTE FOR SPINE CARE

Why DISC is world renowned for back and neck pain treatments

Fifty percent of Americans and 90% of people at least 50 years old have some level of degenerative disc disease.
...
Quantum Fiber

Stream 4K and more with powerful, high-speed fiber internet

Picking which streaming services to subscribe to are difficult choices, and there is no room for internet that cannot handle increased demands.
With wildfire season looming, Arizona officials urge public to be cautious