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Arizona declares ‘Wildfire Awareness Week’ through April 3

This 2019 file photo shows pronghorn running through the grasslands between Prescott and Prescott Valley while a wildfire burns north of Highway 89A. Gov. Doug Ducey declared this week through Saturday, April 3, 2021, to be Wildfire Awareness Week in Arizona to highlight wildfire prevention and preparedness and to encourage responsible fire management. (Courier file photo)

This 2019 file photo shows pronghorn running through the grasslands between Prescott and Prescott Valley while a wildfire burns north of Highway 89A. Gov. Doug Ducey declared this week through Saturday, April 3, 2021, to be Wildfire Awareness Week in Arizona to highlight wildfire prevention and preparedness and to encourage responsible fire management. (Courier file photo)

Gov. Doug Ducey declared this week through Saturday, April 3, to be Wildfire Awareness Week in Arizona to highlight wildfire prevention and preparedness and to encourage responsible fire management, according to a news release from the governor’s office.

“Wildfire season is here, and it’s up to all of us to make responsible decisions that will protect our state,” Ducey said in the news release. “There are simple, but effective, ways we can all minimize the threat of wildfires, like limiting combustible material and vegetation near your house and making sure matches are out cold before walking away. Wildfire Awareness Week is an important reminder to practice responsible fire management and follow the guidance from safety officials to protect people, pets and property.”

photo

A portion of the Bush fire burns through the Tonto National Forest on June 16, 2020, as seen from Apache Junction, Arizona. Gov. Doug Ducey declared this week through Saturday, April 3, to be Wildfire Awareness Week in Arizona to highlight wildfire prevention and preparedness and to encourage responsible fire management, according to a news release from the governor’s office. (Matt York/AP, file)

To help prevent fires, Arizonans are encouraged to:

• Ensure trailer chains do not drag (any spark can start a fire).

• Practice responsible outdoor recreation and ensure campfires, matches or cigarettes are out cold before walking away from them.

• Be “fire wise” and protect your property by limiting the combustible material and vegetation within 100 feet of your house.

• Remember it is illegal and highly dangerous to fly a drone near wildfires.

Ducey signed the Healthy Forest Initiative this month to promote wildfire prevention in Arizona while also expanding opportunities for low-risk inmates in the state’s correctional facilities.

Additionally on March 22, he also joined the Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management and fire safety officials to provide an outlook on the upcoming wildfire season.

Arizona’s peak wildfire season typically runs from May through mid-July when conditions are windy, dry and hot. Wildfires ravaged close to 980,000 acres in Arizona last year, the second-most severe year for total acres burned.

Wildfires can start through unkempt brush, lightning and campfires, and have devastating effects on air quality, wildlife, people and property. View the full Arizona Wildfire Awareness Week proclamation at azgovernor.gov/sites/default/files/arizona_wildfire_awareness_month_2021_1.pdf.

LOCAL RESPONSE

Prescott Fire Department Fire Division Chief Scott Luedeman said the agency would have had their Wildfire Expo along with a craft fair in downtown Prescott this week but due to COVID-19, that got pushed to 2022.

However, he added that every April, all the local fire agencies, including PFD, Central Arizona Fire and Medical Authority (CAFMA), Prescott National Forest, Groom Creek, Williamson Valley and Southern Yavapai, hold a supervisors meeting to formulate an outlook on what the wildfire season may look like for that year, at which point, they can come up with a plan to prepare for it.

“Wildfire is probably the greatest threat to our community and it is important that we continue to stay diligent in maintaining our own properties and practicing fire safety,” Luedeman said.

CAFMA Fire Marshal Rick Chase also said the agency will start posting safety information on its social media pages to teach the public how to prevent or be safe from wildfires.

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