Arizona

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is reminding Southeastern Arizona to take steps to prevent wildland fires and to protect their properties in light of prolonged dry and windy conditions. These conditions have resulted in extremely dry grass and vegetation that is now very receptive to the one spark that can start a wildfire.

With snow forecast Saturday in Arizona’s high country and possibly reaching lower elevations than usual, please don't underestimate the power of a winter storm or overestimate your ability to negotiate highways covered with snow and ice.

Arizona Department of Transportation snowplows will be out in force, but driving conditions are expected to be hazardous during the storm. A highway can close suddenly if enough snow falls in a brief period or if there are crashes, slide-offs or both.

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Phoenix District is planning to conduct a 100-acre prescribed burn of hazardous fuels within the Agua Fria National Monument, for one to three days between January 19 – 21.

The BLM will choose the best days to ignite the fire when the weather conditions are most favorable.  The burn will reduce encroaching juniper into grasslands, and improve the habitat of the pronghorn antelope.

The Arizona Department of Health Services announced today that influenza activity is now widespread in Arizona
 
Pinal County has also identified this recent trend upward in flu activity.  As of December 20th, the Pinal County Public Health Department has confirmed 244 cases of influenza compared to 14 at this time last year. Pinal County also identified its first influenza related death of the season this week, an elderly resident of the county that passed away after being admitted to a local hospital.
 

Flu is widespread in Arizona with 2,629 more cases reported than this time last year, the Arizona Department of Health Services announced today. As of Dec. 20, there have been 2,976 cases of flu reported compared to 347 for the same time period in 2016, which is a 758 percent increase in flu activity.

This is the highest number of seasonal cases this early since influenza tests became reportable. During the past two seasons, Arizona did not reach widespread activity until February.

The State of California is asking for more help from Arizona to assist with the multiple fires burning across the southern part of the state.
 
Today, the Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management received an order for an additional 22 engines, for a total of 42 engines and nearly 150 firefighters.
 
Many of the Arizona crews that have already arrived in California were assigned to the Lilac Fire in San Diego County. Those crews are working as strike teams by providing initial attack and being used for structure protection.

State Route 67 between Jacob Lake (US 89A) and the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park is scheduled to close for the winter season on Tuesday, Dec. 5. 

ADOT doesn’t clear snow from SR 67 during the winter since North Rim visitor accommodations are closed. The highway reopens each spring, usually around mid-May. US 89A remains open during the winter.

ADOT reminds motorists heading into snow country to drive with caution and follow this advice:

Starting tomorrow, the Department of Forestry and Fire Management will begin a 2-day pile burning operation in Northeastern Arizona, near Eagar.
 
The burn will take place at the base of Flat Top Mountain beginning at 7:00 am Wednesday, November 15th and continue through Thursday, November 16th.
 
Burning will run through mid-afternoon on both days and then Arizona State Forestry crews will monitor piles into the evening.
 

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