As the Wallow Fire continues to burn out of control, already consuming 389,000 acres, state authorities are urging people to use extra caution. With humidity levels in the single digits, many areas of the state face extreme fire danger.
In addition to the Wallow Fire, and Flagstaff’s Hill Fire which is contained, the Horseshow Two and Murphy fires are continuing to burn today. The Arizona Department of Transportation urges drivers to be extra careful when operating their vehicles.
Dry, hot and windy weather in Arizona create ideal conditions for a wildfire, and motorists should be aware of the important role they play in wildfire prevention.
Approximately 60 percent of wildfires in Arizona are human caused and most can be prevented, according to State Forester Scott Hunt with the Arizona State Forestry Division.
“All we need to start a wildfire in Arizona right now is a spark or heat source – and that can come from a car pulling a trailer and dragging a safety chain, or the careless cigarette toss out the car window,” Hunt said. “Roadside fires are common and most can be avoided.”
Preventing wildfires is everyone’s responsibility, especially when operating a motor vehicle. ADOT recommends following these wildfire prevention tips to reduce the threat of fire in Arizona.
- Never park your vehicle on dry grass, or drive through tall grass
- Never throw a lighted cigarette out the window of a vehicle
- When pulling trailers, attach safety chains securely; loose chain can drag on the pavement and cause sparks, igniting roadside fires
- Do not park where vegetation is touching the underside of your vehicle
- Look behind you before driving away to check for signs of a developing fire
- Observe “Red Flag” warnings. Warnings are issued when weather conditions are conducive to the easy start and rapid spread of wildfires
- Driving into smoke can be dangerous; avoid active fires by calling 5-1-1 or log onto ADOT’s Traveler Information site at www.az511.gov to seek alternate routes
Additional information on the Wallow Fire, Horseshoe Two Fire and Murphy Fire can be obtained through the Arizona Division of Emergency Management at http://www.azein.gov, the state’s online source for real-time emergency updates, preparedness and hazard information. An excellent source for wildfire information is www.wildlandfire.az.gov/, which is supported by wildland fire agencies in Arizona as part of an interagency collaboration.