Strong winds blow into Tucson ahead of fire season

Published: Mar. 11, 2016 at 10:03 PM MST|Updated: May. 6, 2016 at 9:31 PM MST
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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Fire crews across Arizona have already responded to more than 130 brush fires and wildfires so far this year, according to data from the Southwest Coordination Center.

All but 2 of the 138 fires have been caused by humans, according to the center.

They've burned up more than 8,700 acres.

While the Tucson Fire Department doesn't expect many wildfires within city limits, Friday's controlled burn at Sweetwater Wetlands provided vital practice for firefighters.

Captain Barrett Baker said the burn is an exercise in managing the wind.

He said March and April typically bring heavy winds that can be a challenge to fighting a house fire.

"When it's being pushed as so often it is in those windier months, then it's just a little bit of a challenge because you have to think about putting the fire out where it's at, but also preventing it from moving down very, very quickly," Baker said.

He suggests keeping a 30' space between homes and any shrubs.

If that's not possible, Baker said clearing any dead, dry vegetation is a good start.

In the case of Friday's controlled burn, the wind worked in favor of firefighters. If it was any stronger or blowing in a different direction, Baker said they would have postponed the burn.

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