Arizona Wildfires

Summer in Arizona Means High Forest Fire Danger

Arizona Wildfire
••• Arizona Wildfire. Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images

While wildfires can happen anywhere in the United States where there is brush or trees, different regions have special issues to address based on the type of landscapes found in the area. Much of Arizona is considered a high-hazard fire environment.

Current Arizona Wildfires and Fire Restrictions

    In the Southwest, we have six basic types of vegetation with which we are concerned during wildfire season (Source: Living With Wildfire).

    Grass and Desert Scrub

    At a wind speed of 20 mph with flat terrain, 3,000 acres can burn in one hour.

    Riparian Areas

    At a wind speed of 20 mph with flat terrain, 1,000 acres can burn in one hour.

    Ponderosa Pine Forest

    At a wind speed of 20 mph with flat terrain, 150 acres can burn in one hour.

    Pinyon-Juniper Woodlands

    At a wind speed of 20 mph with flat terrain, 500 acres can burn in one hour.

    Mixed Conifer

    At a wind speed of 20 mph with flat terrain, 10 acres can burn in one hour.

    Tall Chapparal

    At a wind speed of 20 mph with flat terrain, 3, 600 acres can burn in one hour.

    Many people think of the only desert when they think of Arizona -- images of cowboys and sand and saguaro cacti and the old west are immediately conjured up. It may surprise you that there are six national forests in Arizona:

    1. Apache-Sitgreaves - East-Central Arizona
      2 million acres, 450 miles of rivers & streams. The Apache and Sitgreaves National Forests are managed as one national forest.
    2. Coconino - North-Central Arizona
      1.8 million acres, elevations to 12,643 feet, the highest peak in the state. Includes Oak Creek Canyon in the Sedona area.
    1. Coronado - Southern Arizona
      1.7 million acres, elevations from 3,000 to 10,000 feet, 8 wilderness areas
    2. Kaibab - North-Western Arizona
      1.6 million acres, elevations from 5,500 to 10,418 feet, 4 wilderness areas
    3. Prescott - Central Arizona
      1.25 million acres, 8 wilderness area
    4. Tonto - Central Arizona
      3 million acres, elevations from 1,300 to 8,000 feet, 8 wilderness areas. One of the Nation's top 10 visited forests

    Are There Forest Fires in Phoenix?

    It is unlikely that large wildfires will have significant direct impact on large metropolitan areas like Phoenix and Tucson, but there certainly are indirect impacts of such fires on the major metro areas of Arizona.

    • Air quality
      Smoke can be hazardous to many people, and it can drift very far during wildfire season. If you have respiratory problems, make sure you keep current on any wildfires burning in Arizona. Authorities will generally let you know when there are advisories for smoky air.
    • Economic impact
      Not only does fighting forest fires have an obvious cost, but wildfires also affect our insurance rates, as well as Arizona tourism during the summer season.
    • Environmental affects of forest loss.