TUCSON – The Department of Forestry and Fire Management has placed Arizona on high fire danger because of the extreme heat this week.
As of Monday, there were 11 active wildfires going on throughout Arizona. Dry conditions prompted the high fire danger alert.
“We still have stage one fire restrictions in place in some areas of around the state,” Tiffany Davila with the Department of Forestry and Fire Management said. “Just be mindful of that. There is no telling when we’ll be able to lift those restrictions. We’re not seeing the increased humidity that we normally experience at this time of the year. So that’s another factor as to why we’re seeing more fire activity at this time.”
Temperatures remain above average this week with highs making a run for the record Tuesday and Wednesday.
We talked with News 4 Tucson’s Chief Meteorologist Matt Brode about our current conditions.
“So obviously our soil conditions are very dry,” Brode said. “We’re in the middle of the Monsoon and have not seen adequate amounts of rain and that is why we’re sort of seeing a recipe for any wildfire that may develop. So we could really use some rain. Hopefully, we’ll get a little bit more later this workweek.”
While the number of fires has decreased from last year, the amount of land burned has increased.
“As far as the numbers go, we’ve seen fewer wildfires. As far as the acres burned, we’ve more than doubled that from last year,” Davila said. “We’re about 300,000 acres burned this year. Last year, we were at 140,000 at this time of the year.”
One of the reasons for that increase is the influx of dry vegetation.
“If you’re heading up north secure those tow chains,” Davila said. “We still have a lot of roadside fires due to people dragging chains and other issues with people pulling off to the side of the road.”
To check current fire restrictions, visit dffm.az.gov.