New concerns about increased wildfire activity in Arizona

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Dozens of wildfires are burning in Arizona. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Dozens of wildfires are burning in Arizona. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
The Highline Fire is burning along the Mogollon Rim. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) The Highline Fire is burning along the Mogollon Rim. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

Arizona is mid-way through wildfire season and the head of the Department of Forestry and Fire Management is concerned about how the rest of wildfire season will go when temperatures heat up for good.

The agency said on Sunday crews are working to put out nearly 30 wildfires in Arizona. The Tee Fire at 1,200 acres and the Lizard Fire are burning in the southern part of the state while the Highline Fire is along the Mogollon Rim. Those three are "creating concern" for state forester Jeff Whitney.

"We knew it was going to be busy, we just didn't expect it to be as busy as it was today,"  said Tiffany Davila with the Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management. 

[READ MORE: Highline Fire burning outside Payson reaches 450 acres]

Since the start of 2017, there have been 858 wildfires in the state that have burned more than 130,000 acres.

"Right now we're outpacing the number from last year," said Davila.

The largest so far was the Sawmill fire, which started on April 23 and burned nearly 47,000 acres.

Earlier this year, officials predicted southern Arizona would have a higher risk for wildfires compared to northern Arizona. The weather isn't helped as there was another Red Flag Warning for southern Arizona on Sunday with high winds and no moisture.

[SPECIAL SECTION: Arizona Wildfires]

Forester Whitney said fire departments across the state are spread thin.

"A wildfire knows no boundaries," Whitney said in a statement. "We must work together for our communities and for our great state. As we hustle to fight these fires, we ask the public to do their part and be vigilant around fire and proactive around their properties."

[RELATED: Arizona blazes grow as wildfire season peaks]

The majority of wildfires are caused by humans and there are easy ways to prevent wildfires.

"If you're and using a campfire in a developed site, make sure it's completely out, it's cool to the touch when you walk away," said Davila. "Never drag chains, never pull over into tall grasses because the underneath of your car gets very hot."

Fire restrictions are in place on state lands throughout central and southern Arizona. For more information on restrictions go to

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