Wildfire season sees strong beginning in Southern AZ

KOLD News 5-5:30 p.m. recurring
Published: Apr. 20, 2022 at 8:21 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Wildfire season is off to an early start in southern Arizona. And the Rural Metro Fire Department says YOU can make a huge difference, right at home, in preventing wildfires.

Southern Arizona had an incredible monsoon last year which was great for our drought. But that means grass and weeds popping up in local yards.

Here in southern Arizona, our biggest wildfire threat is grass.

Now is the time to get outside and battle it before it’s too late.

“And there’s a lot of them now, especially with the dryer, taller grass. The buffel and native grasses really concern us because they burn fast and much hotter,” said said Battalion chief John Walka.

Taking a look at this wash on the south side, those grasses are between two houses which pose as a great risk for fire danger.

“It’s tall, too. Because it’s in that wash area where there is water, it got some good rainfall so it’s growing and those trees growing there as well, too,” Walka said.

And the more growth, the greater the fire.

“These tall dry grasses, if there’s a cigarette or anything like that dumped out and there’s a little bit of wind, those fires can take off quickly. Buffel grass like we have behind me, which just a slight breeze that grass can take off very very fast,” said Walka.

And then, it might be too late.

“In fact, by the time you are done calling 911, that fire has already taken off in great distance,” he said..

Walka is asking residents to look around their yards and clean up.

“And get rid of those tall dry grasses. A 30-foot defensible space, we hear about that all the time. That really keeps the neighborhood safe,” he said.

That also includes cleaning out gutters, trimming any grass. Also throw away any clippings, and don’t leave them out.

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