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Wildfires in the Desert Landscape – Here’s How You Can Be Prepared

APS’s Fire Mitigation team provides tips to prevent wildfires in communities.

 

As Arizona communities continue to expand, more individuals are living adjacent to wilderness areas, which increases the risk of wildfire impacts. While you may think of heavily forested areas as high risk for wildfires, desert communities can also be at risk. Areas such as New River have seen new development over the last few years, increasing the number of homes in the wildland-urban interface, the zone of transition between developed neighborhoods and wildland areas.

 

While wildfires can be detrimental to our communities, much of our ecosystem is dependent upon wildfires as a natural process. With communities expanding, there becomes less opportunity for wildfires to naturally move through open spaces, leaving more overgrown vegetation, creating an increased risk for communities.

 

Community expansion combined with fuels from wet winter growth create increased risk during longer, drier summers. Activities such as welding and grinding, road grading, campfires and anything that causes a potential spark around vegetation can also lead to a wildfire.

 

So how can we prevent fires and be prepared for an emergency? We asked our fire mitigation team how we can all play a vital role in keeping our communities safe. Here are some ways that you can be prepared:

 

Create a defensible space around your home.

You can create a defensible space by mowing grass and weeds, thinning and pruning trees and shrubs, and throwing trash away properly. Visit the NFPA Firewise website as well as the AZ Department of Forestry and Fire Management website for more information on how you can create defensible space around your home.

 

Know the locations of electrical equipment around your home.

Ensure there is no vegetation around poles or other electrical equipment on your property. APS qualified contractors will perform the necessary work to provide adequate clearance from APS equipment and supply lines when vegetation gets too close. Visit aps.com/trees or call 602-371-7171 for more information. 

 

Report powerline concerns.

If you see a downed power line, stay at least 100 feet away and call 911 first, then APS at 602-258-5483 (800-253-9408). If you see a line or pole that is leaning or damaged, please contact APS at the same number.

 

Plan ahead.

Create a preparedness plan using resources like Ready, Set, Go! in the event of an emergency.

“Here at APS, we recognize that it is everyone’s responsibility to participate in wildfire risk reduction, said Brian Kelley, fire mitigation specialist for APS. “We work year-round to maintain power line infrastructure, clear vegetation from poles and rights-of-way, and respond to wildfires for firefighter and public safety around powerlines. Lastly, we encourage homeowners to take proactive measures to protect themselves and others in the event of a wildfire.”

 

We all play a part in preventing wildfires. At APS, reducing wildfire risk to neighborhoods and wildlands is an important part of providing safe and reliable service to our customers.

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