PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - There's a reason we're dealing with large wildfires right now, and this likely isn't the last of it this season. It's a perfect storm of weather conditions, ironically, with a lack of storms at all. Obviously, the weather is getting hotter, but July 4 could be a turning point for things to get better, and there's a reason why.
The Telegraph Fire, the Spur Fire, the Mescal Fire, it's been a devastating few weeks from Mother Nature. "It's a mixed blessing that the winds die down but temperatures are going up," said fire information officer Dean McAllister.
The Telegraph firefight is incredibly difficult. The winds were creating control issues, but those have since calmed down. But McAlister said there are other problems factoring into a nightmare come nightfall. "The problem we got is that the humidity is not staying down. It's coming back up, but still in the framework where we still have fire and we don't have the cool nighttime temperatures, nor do we have humidity recovery, so we're seeing significant fire activity in the evening," McAllister said.
Unfortunately, this likely won't be the last of these massive blazes in Arizona. These next few weeks are likely to be the most dangerous.
"We're hot. We're really dry, we're waiting on that monsoon moisture and it just doesn't get here until after the Fourth," said Arizona's Weather Authority meteorologist Sean McLaughlin. McLaughlin said because of the minimal rain we had this spring, a large contributing factor to the flames burning out of control is Arizona's severe drought.
"Look at this map. This our drought situation right now. Last year in 2020, this was gone. We had a great wet spring. Because it's been such a dry winter and such a dry spring, we are in a critical situation right now," McLaughlin said, showing an all-red map of drought conditions.
With the weekend highs only inching closer to 110 degrees and beyond, firefighters battling the Telegraph Fire are all hands on deck. "We've got 750 people scattered around the landscape doing a number of different things, but the objective, of course, is to put out the fire," McAllister said.
McAllister said because wildfires like these are so unpredictable, they're focusing on placing fire lines to avoid the flames from moving into areas with buildings and homes.