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Arizona fire officials urge caution as they aim to prevent wildfires

Prescott Valley brush fire
Posted at 4:30 PM, May 27, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-27 20:50:00-04

As temperatures are expected to climb, and brush continues to dry out, fire officials are urging caution as they aim to prevent wildfires.

In recent weeks, the Daisy Mountain Fire Department has dealt with a handful of brush fires along the I-17 corridor. That includes a brush fire that sparked Sunday night near 3rd Avenue and Calvary in New River, which crews got under control without any injuries or damage to structures.

"My dad Facetimed me, we were watching it," said Jack Bohlman, whose parents live near the fire. "It was pretty big."

Bohlman told ABC15 the amount of dry brush puts the area at risk.

"Definitely dry brush is a concern, especially going into the Summer season, we don't get a whole lot of rain," he said.

Fire officials are urging people to avoid unnecessary flames, tossing cigarettes out the window, dragging chains when pulling trailers or pulling over vehicles into areas with high brush.

"With the brush being as dry as it is and the amount of fuels on the ground, we're overcoming the cooler temperatures with increased fuel loading," said Daisy Mountain Fire Department Wildland Division Coordinator Jay Walter.

Walter encourages people to be extra careful.

"It takes just one spark," he said."[It] can lead to a catastrophic wildfire."

Earlier in May, a small brush fire somehow broke out near several homes in the area of Desert Hills Drive and 33rd Avenue.

"It was pretty wet then all of a sudden it gets dry within a week or so and it becomes pretty dangerous," said neighbor Alex Lipowicz. "It was definitely, definitely a wake-up call."

Statistics from the Bureau of Land Management show our role in starting - and preventing - wildfires. Numbers provided by the agency show in Arizona in 2018, 1,356 fires were determined to be caused by humans. Compare that with 610 attributed to lightning.