Warm, Dry Weather Could Increase Fire Risk

Published: Monday, February 16, 2015 - 5:05am

Temperatures are expected to remain above average for the next few days and, if the National Weather Service is correct, we can forget about a significant cool down anytime soon. But when it comes to forest fires, these warmer-than-average temperatures could be a problem.

It’s the middle of February and it’s warm out. If you live in the Valley, temperatures are nearing record highs. If you live up north, like in Flagstaff, there’s usually more snow on the ground.

"What we’re seeing is certainly something of concern, because if we don’t get any pulses of moisture then we’re probably going to have an extended period fire season, generally moving into April," Muse said. "Last year we went into restrictions on April 18, which was about as early as we’ve ever been."

Donald Muse is the Coconino National Forest’s Fire and Aviation Staff Officer. He said it’s difficult to predict which way the proverbial pendulum will swing, but his agency is already gearing up, just in case. They’re hiring close to 100 seasonal employees who will be up and running by the first week in April.

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