PHOTO: Arizona wildfires have burned more acres of land this year than what burned in 2018 and 2019 combined, according to the Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management.
More than 700,000 acres have been scorched by the 1,669 fires the state has seen so far, 87% of which were human-caused, the department said. The number is the highest amount of acres burned per year compared to the last five years. Both humans and mother nature seem to be at blame for the large amount of land burned, according to the department's Public Information Officer Tiffany Davila. The heightened amount of dry foliage due to the intense heat the state has experienced definitely helped set the stage for the disastrous spread of fire.
"The moisture from 2018 coupled with the moisture from 2019 increased the fire fuel across the central portion of the state and down through southern Arizona," Davila said.
KPNX-TV NBC 12 Phoenix
As the lackluster monsoon rain season drags on, officials with the Prescott Fire Department and Central Arizona Fire and Medical Authority (CAFMA) said this week that they will impose Stage 1 fire restrictions on the Quad Cities starting at 8 a.m. Friday, Aug. 14.
The restrictions cover the 42 square miles that comprise Prescott as well as the total of 365 square miles that comprise Prescott Valley, Dewey-Humboldt, Chino Valley and Paulden, fire officials stated in an Aug. 11 news release.
CAFMA officials added that the fire restrictions also apply to the areas that surround Prescott, including Williamson Valley, upper Copper Basin Road, the Mountain Club area, and Ponderosa Park off of White Spar Road.
Other spots under these fire restrictions include the area on Senator Highway that covers Karen Drive, Sweet Acres and Oak Knoll Village, as well as the Government Canyon and Diamond Valley areas south of Prescott, fire officials stated.
Arizona has had a busy wildfire season so far, with three fires already cracking the list of top 12 biggest in state history, by acreage burned.
As wildland firefighters battle fires here and elsewhere across the country, there’s an increased emphasis on their mental health.
The Show spoke with Don Weaver, the state fire planner for the Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management, to learn about the conditions that contribute to mental health issues for wildland firefighters.
Arizona reported 148 new known COVID-19 deaths and 706 new cases on Wednesday, while hospital visits and hospitalizations for the disease continue gradual downward trends.
Inpatient hospitalizations and ICU beds in use hovered around Monday's levels on Tuesday, but seem to be continuing general downward trends over the past month, according to hospital data reported to the state.
Identified cases rose to 189,443 and known deaths totaled 4,347, according to the daily report by the Arizona Department of Health Services.
The 148 new known deaths reported on Wednesday represent the new deaths identified by the Arizona Department of Health Services that day, but many occurred days and weeks prior. The most deaths reported in one day so far was 172 new known deaths on July 30; Wednesday is the second highest daily report. Given recent slow test result turnaround times, new daily reported cases often represent cases that occurred days and weeks prior.
Arizona Republic, AZCentral.com & KPNX-TV NBC 12 Phoenix