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Wildfire outlook: Arizona could see another year of active wildfires

Posted at 5:53 PM, Mar 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-03 21:45:47-05

PHOENIX — Warm temperatures. High winds. Low humidity. Abundance dry fuels. These ingredients make up the perfect recipe for one of Arizona's most dangerous disasters -- wildfires.

“When we say one spark is all it takes to start a fast-moving wildfire, it’s true,” said Tiffany Davila, a public affairs officer with the Arizona State Forestry division.

One spark was all it took to start the 400-plus-acre "Little Fire" near Winslow last week.

With last winter being mostly dry, conditions are unfortunately ripe for wildfires across the state once again.

“We still have fine fuels accumulated across the Sonoran Desert, so we can have a very active fire season, but not just in this region, but throughout the state,” said Davila.

The term "fire season" is about becoming a thing of the past, too.

“Fire season anymore these days, especially with the fuel loading out there, is year-round for us,” said Will Brewer, who works for Daisy Mountain Fire and Medical, an agency that covers 200-square-miles north of Phoenix -- and an area that is prone to brush fires -- including New River, Desert Hills, Anthem, and Black Canyon City.

Many properties in those cities and towns are at least an acre with people doing activities that have the potential of starting a fire, such as construction, building, and welding.

The consistent and constant traffic on Interstate 17 can also have an impact. Fire officials encourage people to avoid burning or using any type of equipment that can throw sparks, such as hauling lose chains.

Looking ahead to the spring, it doesn't look promising for more rain -- a warmer and drier-than-average March, April, and May is predicted, according to the Climate Prediction Center.