Governor asks for increase in wildfire prevention funding

TUCSON, Ariz. - A dry winter in Arizona is prompting Governor Doug Ducey to push for a boost in funding for the coming budget year to prepare for fire season.

Governor Ducey is asking the Legislature for $2 million in funding to remove brush and dangerous fuels. 

"The most important part of preparedness is planning ahead is anticipating the what ifs," he said.

This past year, multiple fires have spread across Southern Arizona and the drought has increased a wildfire risk.

"With the destruction that happened in Southern California there is a lot of concern in Pima County about what kind of a wildfire threat we are at," said Battalion Chief John Walka with Rural/Metro Fire Department. 

Chief Walka says depending on the area there can be a low to moderate fire risk and to minimize the threat create 30 feet of defensible space around your home.

"You can still keep the natural vegetation in your community by simply trimming it back, taking the dead clippings and getting rid of those is really important,"  Chief Walka explained. 

He says more communities are becoming Firewise to bring community awareness on how to be proactive. 

"The worst time to worry about a wildfire threat is during wildfire season when it is really there," he said. "We need to think about these things year round."

Some Firewise tips to protect your home include: 

  • Clear gutters, roof and valleys of leave and dead branches
  • Keep lawn and landscape healthy by regularly mowing and watering 
  • Keep firewood piles, propane tanks and other flammable items at least 30 feet away from home
  • Prune trees so the lowest limbs are about 10 feet from the ground
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