TUCSON, Ariz. — The Southwest Wildfire Awareness week starts Sunday with this year's theme being prevention today for protection tomorrow.
According to Arizona's Department of Forestry and Fire Management, every year people continue to be the number one cause of wildfires in the state.
The goal of this week is to promote actions that prevent human caused wildfires and reduce the risks throughout Arizona communities.
"The more we can do to prevent those fires, the quicker the response time that our fire fighters have to provide that protect to our property," Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire management Public Affairs Officers, Tiffany Davila.
This week will run from April 7-13 as a joint collaboration between DFFM, the Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Fish and Wildfire Service, Bureau of Indian Affairs, National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service, and New Mexico State Forestry Division.
Davila said that nine out of ten wildfires every year are started by people.
"In 2017, roughly 70% of our fires were started by humans, that number dropped just a little last year but again, people are the number one cause of wildfires in the state of Arizona," Davila said.
The winter moisture across Arizona adds more vegetation, making the state more vulnerable to wildfires. DFFM said homeowners can help reduce the wildfire threat by creating defensible space around their property.
This week aligns with fifteen Arizona Sheriff's starting to promote public outreach on their adopted program Ready, Set, Go! (RSG). This program educates residents about
proactive measures to take before a wildfire takes place.
According to the the Coconino County Sheriff's Office, it will be a standard language issued to the public and actions to follow when communities are threatened by wildfires.
In case of a wildfire, here are the steps residents can follow.
READY: "Prepare now"
➢ Be aware of hazards that can threaten your community.
➢ Register for Smart 911 Emergency Notifications
➢ Create defensible space around your home by keeping grass mowed short and trimming vegetation.
➢ Build an emergency supplies kit.
SET: "Be alert"
➢ There is significant danger in your area.
➢ Consider voluntarily relocating to a shelter or with family/friends outside of the affected area.
➢ This might be the only notice you receive.
➢ Danger in your area is current and life-threatening.
➢ Evacuate immediately to a shelter or to family/friends outside the affected area.
➢ Follow instructions from emergency personnel, and stay on designated evacuation routes.
Visit the Arizona Emergency Information Network to learn more about hazards in the state and how to prepare.
As smokey the bear said, "Only you can prevent wildfires."