State officials bracing for a bad wildfire season

A word of caution from Arizona Governor Doug Ducey, as he and other state officials are bracing for a bad wildfire season, because this winter has been so dry.

Gov. Ducey is calling on everyone in Arizona, no matter where they live, to actively prevent wildfires. Just earlier in the month, Gov. Ducey requested to double up on fire prevention funding, from $1 million to $2 million. The funds will be used to work on different fire prevention projects across the state.

On Thursday, Gov. Ducey held a press conference to express his concerns on 2018's wildfire season.

"Please be extra cautious this fire season, as you enjoy the great outdoors in the State of Arizona," said Gov. Ducey. He, along with State Forester Jeff Whitney, talked to members of the media Thursday on the state's fire outlook.

In the past several years, rainfall totals in Phoenix came in below average. In 2015, Phoenix picked up just over seven inches of rain. A year later, Phoenix saw 6.19 inches of rain. In 2017, Phoenix came close to reaching five inches.

Gov. Ducey said he expects this wildfire season to be extremely challenging.

"I want to make sure that camp fires and cigarettes are out cold before you walk away from them," said Gov. Ducey. "I want to make sure that trailer chains don't drag, because any spark from those chains on the asphalt can cause a fire."

Arizona State Forester Jeff Whitney said wildfire briefings are typically done by mid-April, but it is different this year.

"We knew it was critical that we got the word out early, so that people can take care of their property and work with their neighbors in their neighborhoods and communities," said Whitney, who also said the public should always heed to evacuation warnings.

"Please be ready," said Whitney. "When you're asked to go, please go."