Coronado National Forest officials say the fire season appears to be slowing in Southern Arizona, but that hides the months of preparation that go into being ready to fight wildfires.
To prepare for wildfires, Arizona agencies begin training firefighters in advance.
Some resources, such as helicopters or air tankers, are positioned before fires are expected, says Heidi Schewel, spokeswoman for the Coronado National Forest. Those resources are then poised for faster response, if necessary.
“One thing that works in our favor is our fire season happens before a lot of other places experience their fire season. So usually we’re able to get pretty much what we need," Schewel says. "This season, for example, we were able to get all the resources we needed. We didn’t have a shortage at any time."
While there were fires in the Coronado this year, none has been as damaging as the Monument Fire in 2011.
Arizona’s fire season can end earlier than other parts of the country, she says. Monsoon rains beginning in early July can tamp down fire danger, but that depends whether lightning in the storms is dry, or accompanied by rain, Schewel says.
Rains can mean fire season is on its way out, but that doesn’t mean an end to fire danger or restrictions in the national forests.
Other western states, including New Mexico and Colorado, have seen record-breaking fires this year.