Arizona wildfire officials say another year of ‘large fires’ possible

Arizona wildfire officials say another year of “large fires” possible

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Wildfires have started popping up in southern Arizona with crews responding to at least two in Cochise County over the past few days.

Although wildfires aren’t uncommon as spring approaches, there’s some concern about what the future may hold due to Arizona’s severe drought conditions and lack of monsoon.

“Our forecasts are saying we’re going to be as hot and dry as we were last summer. So that potential for large fires, like the Bighorn like the Busch fire, exist in Arizona,” said Dolores Garcia, the Arizona public affairs specialist for the Bureau of Land Management.

2020 was a record-breaking year for wildfires in Arizona. Garcia said crews are currently ramping up training and learning from past fires.

“We review what worked and what didn’t,” she said. “From suppression on the line to how we delivered information.”

Crews will still take all COVID precautions even though most firefighters are now vaccinated, said Tiffany Davila, the public information officer for the Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management.

“We are still going to have our mitigation plan in place,” Davila said. “Using masks, sanitizing vehicles and equipment.”

She said more than 80 percent of fires in Arizona were human caused last year asks for the public to help in preventing wildfires. Precautions include making putting out campfires completely and being careful with tools that spark.

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