Phoenix, AZ (4/8/20) - This year, the Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management predicts another potentially active fire season in certain parts of the state with conditions very similar to what Arizona saw last year.
The winter rain and snow increased the grass load in the Central region of Arizona down throughout the Sonoran Desert. Places like Wickenburg and Wittmann, and other desert-areas with an abundance of grasses, are at a higher risk for wildland fires.
Last year, 1,867 wildland fires burned nearly 400,000 acres of private, state, federal, and tribal lands. Seventy-eight percent of those fires were human caused.
This year, with the COVID-19 pandemic, DFFM has drafted a mitigation plan to address fire response and suppression efforts. The plan ensures the state has sustained resource availability while protecting the health and safety of our fire personnel, state dispatchers, and the public.
Some items addressed under the mitigation plan include, isolation of dispatchers, increased hygiene and sanitizing of vehicles and equipment, social distancing within fire camps, and daily health checkups for all fire personnel assigned to incidents. DFFM also plans to provide engine patrols and stage crews in higher risk areas to provide for faster initial attack response. The goal is to limit fire spread and activity and the amount of resources needed.
Therefore, it is now more important than ever the public utilize extreme care when doing any type of outdoor activity that involves fire. Use spark arresters on small equipment, never burn on windy days, put out campfires completely, secure town chains, and never pull your vehicle off the road into vegetation.
‘The health and safety of our firefighters, the crewmembers, and the public is our number one priority. We have a very large resource toolbox to assist us, including our aviation, local, federal, and tribal partners. However, it is imperative the people of Arizona stay vigilant, stay alert, and take extra precautions when working outdoors or recreating. It takes all of us to keep wildfire risk low and we are asking you to do your part,’ said State Fire Management Officer John Truett.
For more information, contact Tiffany Davila at 602-540-1036 or by email at [email protected].