AZ wildfires have burned more than twice as many acres compared to last year

(Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

(3TV/CBS 5) –

More than twice as many acres have burned in Arizona this year compared to this same time last year.

Information tracked by the Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management shows 203 wildfires have been reported so far in 2018 with 10,257 acres burned.

[SPECIAL SECTION: Arizona Wildfires]

By this time last year, 124 wildfires sparked charring about 4,800 acres.

With two major wildfires sparking this week in Arizona, fire officials are stressing the importance of building defensible space around you home.

“In reality, any plant will burn in the summer,” says Scottsdale Fire Deputy Chief Jim Ford.

He’s educating homeowners living along the Preserve on how to clear or thin out dangerous vegetation around their homes.

Up to 30 feet of defensible space is ideal, and Ford says, even if you have desert land beyond your fenced property, there’s still more work to be done.

“What we’ve been doing is trying to educate our residents to say that the fire code will trump the environmental code,” says Ford.

Ford suggests clearing at least five feet beyond your fence. Look for grasses, what Ford calls “flash fuels,” but don’t go overboard. It’s important, Ford says, to find a balance between protecting your home and maintaining the preserve.

“We don’t want to take out barrel cactus or saguaro cactus,” says Ford. “Just give us a path around that allows our firefighters to get in and out of an area better.”

If you have questions, Ford says homeowners can call Scottsdale Fire Department for guidance.

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Copyright 2018 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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