Fire danger high in southeastern Arizona over holiday weekend

March 30, 2013

Southern Arizona forest officials said the wildfire danger is high, and they want people to be careful with campfires over the holiday weekend. Although the warm weather is only beginning to set in, the threat of wildfires is already a concern in southeastern Arizona.

Coronado National Forest officials urged visitors to be cautious with campfires this weekend, although there are no fire restrictions in place now. Spokeswoman Heidi Schewel said years of drought have created ideal wildfire conditions in that part of the state.

 “While there may still be patchy snow at the higher elevations it is melting off quickly as temperatures rise. Down at the lower elevations we are already dry and our fire danger rating is high. As temperatures warm fuels will become even more flammable," Schewel said.

Schewel said 16 wildfires have sparked in the Coronado National Forest since the start of 2013. She anticipated the fire danger risk will go higher when summer monsoons bring lightning storms to the Arizona desert.