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Jan 29, 2014 7:25 PM by John Patrick

Tucson fire crews ready for early, active fire season

TUCSON - Fire crews are preparing for an already active fire season.

Tucson sees 1,200 to 1,400 brushfires within the city limits every year with most of those coming in the spring and summer months. However, with the warm and dry start to January we may dealing with even more brushfires sooner rather than later.

Adam Goldberg with Northwest Fire Department says they have already responded to several brushfires this year with the most recent on Tucson's northwest side just last week.

"It is somewhat rare to see brushfires in January," says Goldberg.

Tucson is on pace for the third warmest and top 10 driest months of January on record which dates all the way back to 1895. This has Northwest Fire preparing for a blazing fire season ahead.

"Based on the factors here in January I think the fire service is very concerned and keeping a close eye on what it's going to be like when it becomes April and May," explains Goldberg.

According to the Climate Prediction Center the outlook isn't good when it comes to fire season. The forecast has above average temperatures and below average rainfall for Arizona right on through the month of May.

Goldberg says, "We're already seeing how difficult it may be for us this summer based on a number of fires that have already occurred over the last week."

More than 40% of the fires that occur in Tucson start in washes and alleys that are rich with brush and bufflegrass. According to Goldberg, the Northwest Fire Department had a fire consume two homes just last month because of brush and debris in the yard.

The homes would've likely been saved if that brush was clear so it's always important to create defensible space around your home no matter the time of year.

Fire crews ask that homes are clear of brush and debris for at least 30 feet. If there is a fire in your area this defensible space will greatly increase the chances for firefighters to save your home.

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