Unusually High Fire Activity Near Wickenburg and Wittmann Areas Prompts Sate Forestry to Send Fire Behavior Specialist to Area
Phoenix, AZ (5/2/19) - Multiple wildfires in the Wickenburg and Wittmann-areas spur the Department of Forestry and Fire Management to investigate further the factors leading to an uptick in fire activity in Northwestern Maricopa County.
In the past month, the department has responded to three fires, the Painted Wagon, Forest, and Patton incidents, located within areas that historically do not see much fire activity.
So this week, DFFM sent an agency fire behavior analyst to Wickenburg and Wittmann to evaluate the burn areas and conditions, including the vegetation and human factors.
“Winter and spring moisture has led to a significant amount of grass growth throughout the Sonoran Desert, which includes the Wickenburg and Wittmann areas. In the past, people may have been able to conduct outdoor activities, and if a fire were to start, they were able to suppress it themselves with a hose or other water source. With the abundance of those fine, flashy fuels now beginning to cure, it is making it more challenging for residents to suppress fires on their own. The abundance of this fuel type is causing fires to burn at a higher intensity and grow rapidly,” said DFFM Fire Behavior Analyst Byron Kimball.
In response to the assessment, DFFM’s Engine 461 will begin patrols this weekend around the Wickenburg and Wittmann communities.
Fire investigators have determined all three fires were human caused.
Painted Wagon: Human caused – debris burn.
384 acres, started April 8th, 20 miles west of Wittmann, Maricopa County.
Forest Fire: Human caused – barbeque
266 acres, started April 21st, 13 miles southwest of Wickenburg, Maricopa County.
Patton Fire: Human caused – welding
570 acres, started April 27th, 18 miles south/southeast of Wickenburg, Maricopa County.
For more information, contact Tiffany Davila at 602-540-1036 or by email at [email protected]