PHOENIX (FOX 10) -- It appears the Valley has had a number of fires breaking out close to homes and businesses this year, with a fire erupting on Tuesday near Scottsdale Road and Pinnacle Peak in the North Valley.
So, is there a reason for these fires to be burning so close to home?
It’s called the Globe Chamomile, a distant cousin to the Chamomile that goes into tea. However, the Globe Chamomile is also called the Stinknet, because it stinks. Experts said the flowers may be pretty to look at, but they are doing more harm than good, especially during wildfire season.
At one point, wildflowers painted our mountains yellow and filled our Instagram feeds with pretty pictures, but as they say, don’t judge a book by its cover - and for a good reason.
"This plant is actually an invasive species and it actually came from Africa," said Anna Quiroz with the Central Arizona Conservation Alliance. "Of course it’s a very pretty plant, but unfortunately, it actually is very harmful to our native plants and our native environments."
Quiroz said the wet winter brought up more plants in general, both invasive and native, and they are getting dried out.
"These grasses are actually very highly flammable, like Globe Chamomile, like grass. They burn at volatile rates," said Quiroz.
Currently, firefighters are reportedly dealing with 10 active fires, four of which are prescribed burns. While we’re seeing fewer wildfires in total this year so far, officials with the Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management says the dry brush and high winds are to blame for the fast-moving flames. Quiroz explained how they’re adding fuel to the fire.
"It’s because it creates a bigger fuel load," said Quiroz. "All the open spaces that we had filled with all these invasive plants and even some need of plants as well. But when it dries up, it means that now there is no free coverage of land and the fire can just spread."
Meanwhile, officials with the Department of Forestry and Fire Management did have some good news. They've just received $2 million in funding from Governor Doug Ducey to eradicate invasive plants like Globe Chamomile.
The Department of Forestry and Fire Management is also holding a community meeting Wednesday night on the uptick in fire activity in the Northwestern portion of Maricopa County. That will take place at Nadaburg Elementary School in Wittmann at 6:00 p.m.