Governor Doug Ducey held a briefing Thursday on the state’s wildfire outlook. KNAU’s Ryan Heinsius reports, it comes amid one of the driest winters on record in the Southwest.
The governor’s annual wildfire briefing is usually held in mid-April, but he says it was moved up because of the extreme conditions. Ducey is asking for the public’s vigilance in preparing for what could be an especially dangerous fire season.
"So, common sense ideas like making sure campfires, cigarettes and matches are out cold before you walk away from them, and make sure your trailer chains don’t drag—any spark can start a fire. I can’t say it strongly enough, I want people to be extra cautious this season," he says.
Ducey was joined by State Forester Jeff Whitney who says the state is far drier than he’s ever seen in his 45-year career. It surpasses even the years of the Wallow and Rodeo-Chediski fires, the two largest in Arizona’s recorded history.
The governor earlier this month announced he’d ask state lawmakers to nearly double wildfire prevention funds for the next fiscal year, which begins in July.