Arizona’s fire forecast is not looing good, experts say

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Officials are forecasting an above average fire season from March to at least June.

PHOENIX — The fire forecast for summer is out, and it’s not looking good for Arizona.

The Fire Potential Outlook, a fire forecast put out by the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho predicts above-average fire danger starting in March for the southern part of Arizona.

According to the forecast, high fire danger will start in Texas then sweep across New Mexico before growing in Arizona to cover most of the state by June.

“The fire season is looking active with a potential early start to the season,” NIFC meteorologist Jim Wallmann said. 

Fire officials are also warning the 2021 monsoon season, which was one of the wettest seasons in recent years, could be causing some of that fire danger. The monsoon storms caused plants to grow right before winter. 

“It’s now overgrown,” Tiffany Davila with the Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management said.” “It’s waist, chest-high in some areas.”

Davila said it won’t take long for warm weather to dry that vegetation out, creating a lot of fire fuel across the state.

Davila said there have already been 90 wildfires reported across the state in 2022, and it’s not even April yet. 

Wildfire Go-Kit: 

Residents in wildfire-prone areas are urged to have an emergency supplies kit to bring with them of they are evacuated from their homes, especially as Arizona residents are beginning to see early widespread fire activity throughout the state. 

An emergency supply kit should be put together long before a wildfire or another disaster occurs. Make sure to keep it easily accessible so you can take it with you when you have to evacuate. 

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends that residents near a disaster store emergency supplies in a plastic tub, small suitcase, trash can, backpack, or other containers. 

Residents should make sure they have the necessities, such as three gallons of water per person and a three-day supply of ready-to-eat food, the NFPA said. A first-aid kit, prescription medications, contact lenses, and non-prescription drugs should also be taken into account.  

Copies of any important family documents, including insurance policies, identification, bank account records, and emergency contact numbers should also be taken and put into a waterproof, portable container in your kit, the NFPA said.  

The association lists other items that would help in a disaster, including: 

  • Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person 

  • Battery-powered or hand-cranked radio and an NOAA weather radio to receive up-to-date information 

  • Dust mask or cotton T-shirt to filter the air 

  • Matches in a waterproof container 

  • Complete change of clothing including long pants, long sleeve shirts, and sturdy shoes stored in a waterproof container 

  • Signal flare 

The entire NFPA checklist of supplies can be found here. 

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