Record Dry Winter Means Arizona Needs To Prepare For A Difficult Fire Season
PHOENIX — In response to record dry winter conditions in Arizona, Governor Doug Ducey today announced that he is boosting his funding ask to the Legislature for fire safety and prevention efforts. The governor is seeking to not only increase FY 2019 funding levels for ongoing costs, but also has identified additional federal supplemental funding to ensure the state is prepared for a difficult fire season.
Additionally, the Department of Forestry and Fire Management will be working actively with state, local, and federal partners to fully spend available dollars in the Hazardous Vegetation Removal Program in FY 2019.
With only 0.44 inches of rain, as of January 26, this winter ranked as the fourth driest start to the water year for Phoenix (Arizona Republic, Feb. 3). The average is 2.85 inches.
To help mitigate these effects, Governor Ducey seeks to secure funding to proactively restore forests on federal and state lands, continue supporting the Post-Release Crew’s prevention efforts, strengthen public-private partnerships to aid forest management, and encourage all efforts to make Arizona an attractive place for forest industries to do business.
“Arizona is all too familiar with the devastation that wildfire season can bring,” said Governor Ducey. “After experiencing an unusually dry winter, we need to commit to giving the Department of Forestry and Fire Management the tools they need to prevent and battle these catastrophic fires. Protecting lives, pets and property starts with proper preparation, and by working with state, local and federal partners, our goal is to minimize the impact of these fires to the best of our ability.”
“Work is already underway to prepare for the fire searson,” said State Forester Jeff Whitney. “These resources are critical to that effort, especially given these dry conditions. We appreciate Governor Ducey and the Legislature’s continued support for fire management, and take this responsibility very seriously.”