As vegetation begins to dry out and the warmer summer months approach, fire season is officially arriving in the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community.
The timing of wildfire season can vary each year, but it is usually from March through October. According to the Salt River Fire Department, not only is it wildfire season, but it’s also the time of year to be more conscious about preventing fires in and around the home.
The SRFD recommends clearing any overgrown vegetation away from your house, including tall grass, trees and bushes, and creating a 30-foot defensible space. This space should extend all the way around your house. Keep vegetation wet if you are unable to clear it away from the structure of the house.
To prevent wildland fires in Arizona, avoid open-flame fires outdoors in designated areas. When towing anything from a vehicle, make sure chains are not dragging, and never throw cigarettes out of a vehicle. Pay attention to Red Flag Warnings restricting outdoor activities that could contribute to wildfires.
The SRFD also advises residents to pay attention to local weather. Lightning during the monsoon months can start a wildfire; however, most Arizona wildfires are human-caused. These wildfires have the potential to be very dangerous, and they spread quickly with monsoon winds.
In order to stay prepared to tackle fire emergencies during wildfire season, the SRFD maintains an area familiarization with potential threats here in the Community. All fire personnel are responsible for completing annual wildland refreshers, reviewing department protocols and reviewing all safety measures in the event of a hazardous situation.
SRFD issues firefighters special wildland fire personal protective equipment including wildland boots, helmets, pants, long-sleeve shirts, gloves and wildland packs. These packs are equipped with special fire shelters for protection if the user is ever overcome by heat and flames; these shelters are only deployed in an emergency situation.
Fire personnel pay close attention to the local weather and look out for potential monsoon storms that may be expected on any given day. It is also very important for all fire personnel to remain well hydrated and maintain proper nutrition during the summer months so they can stay active and healthy and protect the Community from harm.