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Fire season outlook a mixed bag

By Howard Fischer

Phoenix, AZ – Governor Janet Napolitano received her annual briefing on the upcoming fire season. Arizona Public Radio's Howard Fischer reports on some of what she learned.

The governor said a lot of what to expect depends on where you

(The lower elevations, the desert, the perennial grasslands and
riparian areas are expected to have a higher than normal fire
season. Our higher elevation forested areas are still at risk.
But the snowfall this winter has reduced that risk somewhat. So
Mother Nature helped us out a bit there.)

But the governor said there's another factor at work -- the
availability -- or not -- of federal help. She said other areas
in the region also have high fire danger. And while the number of
federal air tankers is the same as it was as it for the last few
years, the amount of retardant each can carry has been reduced by
10 percent each year since 2004. She specifically said Arizonans
need to be actively involved in keeping down fire danger,
especially those that live in areas where towns and cities are
next to the forest or dry grasses.

(You need to ensure that your home has defensible space around
it. Give us a chance to put something out if something starts.
You need to have an emergency evacuation plan. And you need to
know how to stay informed through radio, TV or Internet.)

The governor said the state plans for the worst but hopes for the

For Arizona Public Radio, this is Howard Fischer.