Could 2017 be a bad wildfire season for Arizona?

Posted: Updated:
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

The wildfire picture for Arizona is shaping up poorly as we enter the final days of April. We have a major fire burning south of Tucson, where the Sawmill Fire is at 40,000 acres and we have a relatively small fire in the channel of the Salt River in the northeast Valley. The Cactus Fire, as it is called, has burned about 200 acres. It’s burning in a fairly contained area of Salt Cedar and Mesquite, which do tend to burn quite hot. But no structures are threatened.

Here’s the thing. The rest of the week is going to stay fairly windy. In fact, a Red Flag Warning is already out for Thursday in southeast Arizona and a Fire Weather Watch is out for Phoenix on Friday. If the forecast holds, Friday could be the windiest day of the week around metro Phoenix. And the fire danger will be high. We have a map showing the current alerts.

And there’s this, the seasonal forecast for wildfires issued by the National Interagency Coordination Center. It shows the much of southern Arizona in May will be at high risk for a major wildfire. And it also shows that in June and July, much of the state, including the Mogollon Rim, the White Mountains, Flagstaff, Prescott, Payson, etc., will be a high risk for a major wildfire.

That could change if the monsoon kicks with early rains. However, at this point, the monsoon is expected to be a late arriver, so our fire season could stretch well into the summer. And that is usually not good news.

Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


  • Weather BlogMore>>

  • Fall colors about to arrive in Arizona

    Fall colors about to arrive in Arizona

    Wednesday, September 20 2017 9:05 PM EDT2017-09-21 01:05:44 GMT
    (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)(Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

    We may have to wait a little longer for fall to arrive in Arizona, but when it does, it's AMAZING. And that includes the fall colors. Yes, even in Arizona we get those reds, golds and yellows. It just takes a little bit of a road trip from the Valley to find them. 

    More >

    We may have to wait a little longer for fall to arrive in Arizona, but when it does, it's AMAZING. And that includes the fall colors. Yes, even in Arizona we get those reds, golds and yellows. It just takes a little bit of a road trip from the Valley to find them. 

    More >
  • The state of the climate in 2016

    The state of the climate in 2016

    Tuesday, September 19 2017 11:52 PM EDT2017-09-20 03:52:56 GMT
    An undated photo of arctic ice. (Source: NASA)An undated photo of arctic ice. (Source: NASA)

    The latest report on the climate from the American Meteorological Society focuses on 2016.

    More >

    The latest report on the climate from the American Meteorological Society focuses on 2016.

    More >
  • Countdown to Fall

    Countdown to Fall

    Saturday, September 16 2017 8:59 PM EDT2017-09-17 00:59:53 GMT

    This week, we are all breaking into our “Happy Dance” as the temperatures around the Valley drop into the 90s during the day and 70s at night. For Arizonans, it’s the signal that summer is finally coming to an end.

    More >

    This week, we are all breaking into our “Happy Dance” as the temperatures around the Valley drop into the 90s during the day and 70s at night. For Arizonans, it’s the signal that summer is finally coming to an end.

    More >