Arizona wildfire activity low, but that could change in a flash

Jun 16, 2023, 10:19 AM

A prescribed fire is seen in the Kaibab National Forest in early June. (Facebook Photo/U.S. Forest Service - Kaibab National Forest) photo shows gravity of fire in mesa The Wilbur Fire in the Coconino National Forest started May 21 and consumed 5,228 acres before it was contained. (Inciweb Photo)

PHOENIX — Despite exceptionally low wildfire activity across Arizona this year, forestry officials are warning that could change in a flash.

With temperatures on the rise, Arizona fire officials are preparing for an increased wildfire risk.

“The weather has been really helping. It’s been cooler than normal for June. The moisture has helped,” Tiffany Davila of the Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Thursday.

“But … we don’t want to give folks that false sense of security, especially with the amount of grass that we have in southern Arizona and across the northern desert.”

Davila said crews and resources are being sent to the Phoenix area and southern Arizona “in anticipation of high fire activity this weekend.”

“Even though we had all of this precipitation, the grass down in southern Arizona is basically … just a tinderbox right now,” Davila said.

“Any ignition source into that grass can potentially start a fast-moving wildfire.”

Since January, Arizona has seen just over 15,000 acres burned in 600 fires, Avila said. About 53,000 acres had already burned by this time last year, and about 120,000 acres burned throughout 2022.

“People just really need to be mindful of the weather and just understand that even though it is cooler and we haven’t had that fire activity that we normally see, the potential is still there,” Davila said.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Jim Cross contributed to this story.

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Arizona wildfire activity low, but that could change in a flash