Recent rainy seasons mean summer wildfires a concern, fire district says

Firefighters are expecting to see more wildfires this year, including at lower elevations like the Apache Junction area. (SFMD)

The Superstition Fire and Medical District warns that wildfires are more likely to occur this summer because of the large amounts of rainfall that has occurred over the past two years.

Firefighters are expecting to see more wildfires this year, including at lower elevations like the Apache Junction area, according to a release.

The Superstition Mountains and surrounding deserts areas have had a noticeable lush green ground cover over the past several months.  However, as the summer temperatures rise, this ground cover quickly turns brown and presents a serious fire danger.  High temperatures and dry winds create conditions that are prime for wildfire development and growth, and local residents should be aware, according to the release.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, wildfires in the U.S. have claimed more than 100 lives and have cost more than $25 billion in property losses in just the past two years.

It is very important for homeowners to assure an adequate clearing around their home which will create a layer of protection against wildfires, the release states.

Creating a defensible space can prevent a wildfire from extending into a home and also give firefighters a better change of saving a home.  Creating a defensible space becomes even more important in particular neighborhoods with a limited number of roads for ingress and egress.

Neighborhoods that are limited to a single access road can delay the response of emergency services, the release states.

Residents should adhere to the following to protect their home from a wildfire:

  • Store away furniture cushions, mats, potted plants and other decorations from decks, porches and patios.
  • Remove anything stored underneath decks or porches
  • Move any flammable material away from exteriors walls, such as mulch, leaves and needles, firewood piles or anything that can burn.
  • Trim shrubs and trees that are closer than 15 feet from the home.
  • Cut tree limbs that are less than 5 feet in height and clear all ground vegetation from under trees to prevent fire spread.
  • Clean roofs and gutters of dead leaves and debris that could catch fire from embers.
  • Replace or repair any loose or missing shingles, or roof tiles to prevent ember penetration.
  • Clean debris from exterior attic vents and install 1/8 inch metal mesh screening to reduce embers from penetrating.
  • Box-in areas below patios and decks with wire mesh to prevent debris and combustible materials from accumulating.
  • Repair or replace damaged or loose window screens and broken windows.
  • Clear vegetation that is under or near propane tanks.

The majority of wildfires are human-caused and the fire district encourages everyone to be particularly safe this season, according to the release.

“Do not burn your weeds or utilize any type of open flame in the outdoors between the months of May and October.  If you are utilizing an outdoor grill for cooking, exercise the upmost safety and be certain that the grill is positioned in an area free of weeds or other vegetation.  Do not leave a lit grill unattended at any time and assure that a charged hose is available to immediately extinguish any unforeseen accident,” the release states.

Go to wildlandfire.az.gov/useful-links.

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