Spiking temperatures in Arizona causing fire concerns

Warmer summer temperatures in such a quick time could prompt worries for wildfire officials.
Warmer summer temperatures in such a quick time could prompt worries for wildfire officials.(Arizona's Family)
Published: Apr. 11, 2023 at 6:35 AM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - You’ve probably enjoyed all the blooms and beautiful greenery statewide following our wet winter, but our Valley’s big temperature spike will change the landscape.

“What it really does is that roadside greenery is drying out really fast so that’s going to be the first carrier of the fire,” John Truett, the state’s fire management officer, said. In one week, our temperatures have jumped more than 30 degrees! Truett says the big increase will likely accelerate fire ignitions across the state. In 2022, fire activity statewide was down significantly compared to the previous year. Truett says this year’s fire environment is more critical given all the fine fuels on the ground.

“It’s a continuous fuel bed now with all the rain we’ve had so we’re still in a real critical fire environment,” Truett said.

Truett is also calling for caution especially as people are out in the woods. “Right now, folks are gonna want to get out, do some of their hazard reduction around their houses, you know, using lawnmowers and whatnot. Just be extra careful using that. You know, the dryness is gonna surprise a lot of folks,” he said.

State Forestry is gearing up for the height of fire season right now by adding additional resources.

“We brought our seasonals on, our aircraft are coming on this week so we’ll have aerial firefighting availability to us. All of our crews have been trained up, in what we call pre-fire inspection so they’re ready to go,” he said.

Winds will be another concern this week with breezy conditions expected tomorrow and Thursday in the Valley and gusty winds in northern Arizona on both days.

“Wind is our worst enemy, that’s the driving factor behind most of these large wildland fires. So, you know, that’s gonna definitely affect us,” Truett said.