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Increase in green plants may spell increased fire danger for Arizona

Fire season is year round in Arizona and monsoon rainfall has made this year’s danger more complicated.

ARIZONA, USA — There is still a month left in Monsoon 2021, and many locations across Arizona are already reporting above average and even record rainfall totals.

Payson and Show Low, for example, have experienced their rainiest monsoon on record to date.

Arizona has been putting on all shades of green lately from the forests to the deserts. However, this green-up could complicate the state's fire danger as it moves into the fall and winter months.

Fire danger is a year-long threat in Arizona, and that’s especially true this year. 

RELATED: Arizona wildfire map: What's burning in the Grand Canyon State

The state is currently under a La Niña watch for fall and winter. If La Niña develops, it typically promotes drier than normal conditions in the Southwest in winter. 

This could cause all the added vegetation to dry out faster, which would likely have the highest impact on areas with fine fuel vegetation, according to the Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management.

The department isn’t expecting the same amount of activity the state would get in its hottest and driest summer months. But, fires can still spark any time of year, even with all the rainfall recorded so far this monsoon.

It’s very important for Arizonans to start working to protect their properties by trimming trees, clearing out brush and creating defensible space.

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

Arizona has had 1,419 fires that have burned about 597,000 acres on state, federal and tribal lands as of Aug. 23. At this time last year, there were 1,811 fires that burned about 770,000 acres.

For more tips on how you can help prevent adding to these troubling numbers, check out this resource.

Arizona Wildfires

Get the latest information on how to stay safe and protect your home during wildfire season in Arizona on our 12 News YouTube playlist here.