Wildfire season is now 365 days a year. Multiple state and federal agencies work together when implementing and lifting fire restrictions in Arizona.
“There’s (sic) multiple factors into when we go into fire restrictions based on weather, the types of fuel on the ground and what the moisture capacity is within the fuel,” Tiffany Davila with the Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management said.
Typically, Arizona’s summer monsoon provides increased humidity, ample moisture, and cooler temperatures, but not this year.
“We’re not seeing that widespread moisture that we really need to help reduce that fire activity and help us lift fire restrictions in some parts of the state,” said Davila.
Restrictions were lifted this past week for parts of northern and southeastern Arizona but remain in place for parts of central and western Arizona.
“Right now, it’s not beneficial for us to lift fire restrictions in areas like Maricopa County, just because we are still seeing fire activity on a daily basis,” said Davila.
Current areas under fire restrictions are at a stage two level – which means no campfires, charcoal grills, fireworks, or firearms. The agencies also have to consider other circumstances.
“Weighting in the human-caused and lightning-caused factors, we also have to make sure that we have enough resources to put out those fires. That is also a critical component when determining when to lift,” said Dolores Garcia with the Bureau of Land Management.
Even though restrictions have been lifted, you still have to be careful.
“Make sure you put out your campfires completely. If it’s too hot to touch, it’s too hot to leave. That’s the general rule of thumb. Don’t just stir it around a bit. Make sure it is completely out because those few hot embers, that’s all it takes to start a fire,” said Garcia.
“Just be mindful you know vegetation is still dry in parts of the state. There is the potential for fire danger and fire behavior to increase,” said Davila.
Click here to learn more about Arizona wildfire prevention.