Wildfires in Arizona: Homebuilders using tools, techniques to prevent blaze

At a construction site, a small spark can lead to a huge problem, and after a request by Scottsdale Fire officials for construction crews to stop starting wildfires, we asked a home builder about what they’re doing to prevent wildfires.

On Sunday, Scottsdale Fire said the last seven wildfires they responded to were because of construction crews, ranging from a small one over the weekend to the large Diamond Fire in 2023.

Officials with West Construction and Development say fire safety is always top of mind, as they build custom homes all over the Valley.

"Desert Mountain, DC Ranch, Silverleaf. These are all places that we also build, and you have a huge fire potential because you got natural, open spaces," said Scott West.

West agrees with Scottsdale Fire's statement. He said not everyone takes the right precautions, and that there is a lot one can do to stop sparks, such as soldering differently.

"When we go to a joint like this, all the heat's transmitting under the metal, instead of directly under the wood," said West.

West said they even wet the wood ahead of time.

"We have the green part of the year, and then we have the part of the year where everybody’s worried about even dragging a chain on the highway," said West.

Besides Scottsdale Fire, officials in Pinal County also say construction work has started many fires there. West says that is why they remove all the grass and bushes at their sites, and keep it that way.

"Pre-emergence, post-emergence, to try to help mitigate and keep things as dirt," said West. "If grass grows back, it’s just fuel for flames that could easily spread to the structure, and the next thing, you have a snowball effect."

Fire crews are asking for construction teams to have hoses on site. West's site uses inch-and-a-half fire hoses.

"We have a couple hundred feet of hose on our job sites," said West.

West said while every homebuilder is different, he supports more regulations on job sites to stop sparks leading to wildfires.