Wet winter, cooler spring created ideal wildfire conditions

PHOENIX (FOX 10) -- As is the case with a lot of wildfires this time of the year, weather conditions play a huge role, including the weather from this past winter.

This past winter, the state saw records amount of rain and snow up in the high country, and it might be surprising to find out that that has actually increased the fire danger in other parts of the state. Now that it's hot again, the vegetation is ready to burn.

"All the fires we've had in the past week in this lower country, they've all been human-caused," said Carrie Templin with the Tonto National Forest.

Templin said the wet winter and spring certainly helped

"We had a very nice wet winter and wet spring, which has led to a beautiful crop of wildflowers in the spring, and now, we have a lot of dried grasses," said Templin.

Dried grasses mean plenty of fuel for a fire.

"So, we have these beautiful carpets of brown grass, and when you're in these lower elevations, it just doesn't take much of a spark to get the fire started," said Templin.

Parts of the high country have been lucky so far.

"If we're really lucky, we won't get any large fires in the High Country before we get some monsoons," said Templin.

The fires aren't exactly a surprise. The Department of Forestry and Fire Management warned the Governor about the potential during a briefing in April.

People are reminded to not drag chains for trailers on cars and trucks. Also, people should not flick cigarettes out the window, be careful with shooting ranges, and refrain from parking over dry grass, as even the heat from an engine could start a fire.