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Wildfire safety tips and preparations for upcoming peak season

Redington Pass Wildfire
Posted at 4:51 AM, Mar 07, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-07 16:51:35-04

TUCSON, Ariz. — A 22 acre wildfire started Sunday near Redington road.

Officials quickly responded to the fire and contained it before it could grow any bigger.

According to the Public Information Officer for the Coronado National Forest, Heidi Schewel, wildfires are started when anything that causes a spark hits something burnable.

They all start small, but depending on weather conditions like wind or heat, they could grow from hundreds to even thousands of acres, Schewel said.

Since weather plays such an important factor, there are certain times of year that wildfires are more prevalent.

Spring, which Schewel calls the "green up", is when a lot of new vegetation starts to grow.

Then there's summer, which is when the temperatures are at there highest.

Schewel said there is no way to predict how many wildfires will occur each year, but fire crews are ready year-round.

Even though there has been more rain recently, it doesn't necessarily mean wildfires are less likely to occur.

"Right now it's buying us sometime," Schewel said. "There's snow pack on the mountains. There's a lot of moister in some of the areas where the soil is pretty moist. That's not conducive to burning, however, with rain, plants grow and eventually those plants die, and when those plants die and become dry, they're fueled for wildfires."

Schewel said they've seen more vegetation, like brush and other plants, in recent years, so when a fire does start, it has a greater chance of growing quickly.

With the recent growth, Schewel said it's important to remember fire safety tips.

Here they are:

  • don't build fires on windy days
  • only build fires on bare mineral soil
  • no grasses, trees, or twigs around it
  • nothing over hanging it
  • make sure your wood is cut too fit inside the fire ring
  • the most important thing (never leave a fire unattended at anytime)
  • make sure you have water to put out the fire, not dirt

"No matter what day it is, no matter what month it is, no matter if there is clouds in the sky or not, Practice fire safety and form those habits, because fires can really start anytime of the year," Schewel said. "I don't think anyone really wants to be responsible for damaging the public lands, which so many people love."

Schewel said the Coronado national forest service is building forces and getting everyone trained and physically fit to get ready for the wildfire's ahead.