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Fewer Arizona wildfires in 2018 and big drop in acres burned

Posted at 7:56 AM, Jan 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-25 09:56:48-05

PHOENIX — Arizona had fewer wildfires and a dramatic reduction in the number of acres burned during 2018 compared with the previous year.

The Department of Forestry and Fire Management says there were 2,000 fires on private, state, federal and tribal lands in 2018, down from 2,205 in 2017, a decrease of 9 percent.

There was an even larger percentage decrease in acres burned, with more than 165,000 acres (66,775 hectares) burned in 2018, down about 60 percent from nearly 420,000 acres.

The department says lack of moisture and severe drought conditions set the stage for a very active season statewide but that steps taken by state and federal agencies helped prevent "a possibly disastrous season."

Those steps included earlier implementation of fire restrictions and closures of public lands.