As Arizona wildfire season worsens, experts offer prevention tips

Forest fires have burned hundreds of acres so far this year in Arizonaand experts say it’s only getting worse.

Experts say they are now a year-round concern and they are asking people to take precautions.

Wildfire prevention and education specialist Mark Wiles says he’s been dealing with these fires for 40 years and it’s getting more and more serious.

“More than half of fires are human-caused,” Wiles said. “More humans, more fires are expected.”

He and several other firefighters were at Cabela’s with their friend Smokey the Bear to educate the public about wildfire prevention.

“Some people just don’t understand how fire behaves, how it reacts, and how we can cause it with simple things we do every day,” Wiles said.

They ask people not to light campfires or throw cigarettes on the ground. Anyone who has to leave the road is asked not to stop on grassy areas and to cover their safety chains.

“If they come in contact with the curb, they can cause sparks and set the grass on fire, so we want to make sure these chains are away from the curb,” Wiles said.

“Grease those hubs so they don’t spark, make sure the cars brakes are well maintained because they can spark too,” said prevention team member Brad Bramlett.

Residents who live near a forest can also be proactive in securing their home, such as making sure the yard is free of flammable debris and making sure the roof is clean.

“The main thing is to be responsible for what you do while camping and hunting,” Tyler Allen said. “If you can’t be responsible while you’re away, can’t observe there’s no fire restriction, you don’t belong there.”

Arizona wildfires 2022: What to know about the fires burning in the state

Major wildfires have already burned thousands of acres this year in Arizona

The tunnel fire began April 17 near Flagstaff in Coconino County. Officials say the fire quickly spread in a northeasterly direction due to high winds and grew to more than 19,000 acres in less than a week.

The crooks fire was burning in the Prescott National Forest and triggered evacuation orders for some communities and put others on high alert. Those orders have since been lifted and the fire is 100% contained after burning more than 9,000 acres.

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