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2020 was the worst wildfire season Arizona has seen in nearly a decade, state fire officials report

Multiple factors, including hot temperatures, lack of moisture and overabundance of fine fuels, led to the high amount of acres burned.

ARIZONA, USA — Editor's Note: The above video from November features an explanation as to why Arizona saw a destructive wildfire season.

Wildfires in Arizona burned the most acres of land in 2020 than any other year in the past decade, according to data from from the Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management. 

The state saw a total of 2,520 wildfires last year, 82% of which were human-caused, that burned 978,519 acres of land. That was more acres than was burned in 2019 and 2018 combined at 384,942 acres and 165,000 acres, respectively.

This is the most destructive year for wildfires the state has seen since 2011, when 1,988 wildfires burned 1,016,428 acres.

There were multiple factors at play in Arizona's ecosystem last year that created the perfect storm for fire spread, including "unseasonably warm conditions, a lack of moisture, an overabundance of fine fuels, and increased recreational traffic across the state," the department said in a press release.

The overgrowth of dry foliage and a nonexistent monsoon season led to fire activity seen across the state, including the Superstitions, southern Arizona, Tonto National Forest, and along Interstate 17.

"Under certain conditions, a majority of these fires produced extreme fire behavior that pushed right through retardant lines and created very dangerous situations," John Truett, the Fire Management Officer from the department, said. "This week’s recent moisture only helps our drought situation for the short term and residents cannot let their guards down."

The department recommends taking proper fire safety precautions to make sure you don't start a wildland fire, including paying attention to your surroundings while working outdoors, putting out campfires completely, securing tow chains, and abiding by fire restrictions.