Firefighters prep Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center for wildfire season

SCOTTSDALE, AZ - The peak of wildfire season is just around the corner, and Rural/Metro Fire of Central Arizona is wasting no time to ensure some of our furry friends are safe.

On Monday, firefighters worked to clear high brush near animal cages at Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center in North Scottsdale . The center serves as a rehabilitation and sanctuary for injured and endangered species.

“Our relative humidity right now is pretty high,” said Captain Louis Mirabelli. “But once we start getting into the single digits is when this [brush] is like gasoline.”

The conservation center is located in a fairly remote area of North Scottsdale surrounded by shrubs, making it a prime spot for flare-ups.

“It would be very difficult to evacuate this many animals,” said Director Linda Searles. “We actually evacuated in 1995 for the Rio fire, and that was a very scary time.”

Rural/Metro volunteered to help the non-profit prep their property in case the flames get too close this season, but it’s something everyone in this dry state should be planning for.

“Practice those good ‘fire-wise’ techniques, 30 foot spacing, good thinning,” said Captain Mirabelli.

If a property is too overgrown, firefighters may not take the time or the risk to protect it if a fire does come.

Experts recommend clearing leaves and other debris from gutters, porches and decks to prevent embers from igniting your home. Also, prune trees so the lowest branches are 6 to 10 feet from the ground.


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