Arizona Public Radio | Your Source for NPR News
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Fire officials urge precautions ahead of Arizona's wildfire season

Tom Dreisbach

Gov. Katie Hobbs and state fire officials came together Monday to urge Arizonans to take precautionary measures to prevent wildfires.

The annual update comes ahead of the usual start to the season, which typically runs from April to July.

The Department of Forestry and Fire Management expects the potential for higher-than-normal activity in some areas due to excessive amounts of grass and brush, like south of the Mogollon Rim in the Tonto National Forest. These conditions have the potential for quick ignitions and rapidly moving blazes. Winds and tricky terrain can influence the fire's behavior and make it even more challenging for firefighters to get control.

As for the high country, fire behavior analysts forecast a delayed start to fire season due to the existing snowpack. However, they warn that snowpack may melt sooner than last year as warm temperatures hit. Forecasters say by May Arizona could see the start of our typical summer pattern of hot and dry conditions. Those conditions can signal the start of Arizona’s fire season.

Higher elevations in northern Arizona could see a delayed start due to the snowpack, but that will likely melt as warm temperatures hit. Forecasters say that could happen by May.

Fire officials encourage residents to take preventative measures now and create a defensible space around their homes by removing dead vegetation from the property and moving flammable materials like propane tanks away from structures.

More than 1,800 fires were reported in Arizona last year and 71% were human-caused.