Fire activity in Arizona expected to remain high until monsoon hits

The heat wave is drying out all the vegetation, and with no end to the heat in sight, the state expects the fire risk to remain high.
Published: Jul. 9, 2023 at 9:35 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - From Tucson to the Valley and up to the high country, fire crews have had their hands full this weekend fighting several fires burning across the state.

“The fuels are about as dry as we could possibly get. Everything around here hasn’t had a drink of water for probably about two months so everything is pretty crispy dry,” said Steven Johnson, the spokesperson for the crews battling the Flying V Fire.

Johnson is one of more than 250 firefighters battling the wildfire along State Route 60, east of the Valley. The hot and dry weather only adds to the fuels. “It’s pretty close to as bad as it can get if we had some winds right now that would probably be worse case scenario.”

Normally the state sees a ramp-up in fire activity early in the year. “Because of the precipitation we had last winter across the state it really delayed things by about a month for us and now we are starting to see that fire activity ramp up,” said Tiffany Davila, public affairs officer for the Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management.

The current heat wave has dried out all that vegetation, and with no end to the heat in sight, the state expects the fire risk to remain high throughout July. According to NASA, more than 80% of all wildfires are started by people. In Arizona, one of the biggest causes, according to the state, is dragging chains. “Especially along the 10 the 17 they start these fires off the side of the road and a lot of times we have to shut down the interstates or highways to fight the fire,” said Davila.

When you tow a trailer or a boat, check to ensure your chains aren’t hitting the pavement because those sparks can ignite nearby dry brush. Try not to park your car over tall grass as the heat from your car could light what’s underneath. Also, be mindful when working outdoors; any sparks could ignite a fire if you are working with metal.

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