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.


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