The 2012 wildfire season has begun in Arizona as fire crews in Arizona spent the weekend battling five blazes that burned nearly 6,000 acres and forced the evacuation of some residents.
The fires followed warnings from state land managers that the hot temperatures in May, coupled with the dry vegetation, created a high risk in certain parts of the state, according to the Associated Press.
The Arizona Republic newspaper reported that the Sunflower fire in Tonto National forest was the state's largest, charring 3,100 acres. That fire wasn't a danger to any structure, and some 280 firefighters contained it on Sunday.
It was the smallest fire that was the most cause for concern, according to the Arizona Republic. The Gladiator Fire, which was about four miles north of Crown King, lit up 600 acres in the Bradshaw Mountains and damaged three buildings. That fire sparked mandatory evacuations.
Officials haven't provided an estimate on containment.
I can't explain why we have a burst of fire activity today, Cliff Pearlberg, a Tonto National Forest spokesman, told the Arizona Republic. But I can say the fact that so many of the fires we have are seemingly problematic this early in the year is unusual.
It was a record year for wildfires in Arizona last season, with a reported 981,748 acres burned. The Wallow Fire began late last May and burned more than 30 homes. By early June it scorched 336,187 acres and destroyed 11 buildings.
12 News meteorologist Rob Carlmark on Sunday said that there won't be a broad change in weather until Thursday. A high of 106 is expected Monday and 107 Tuesday. Temperatures will continue to fall near 100 by the weekend, Carlmark reported, adding that There is no rain in the forecast.