BUILDING AND FIRE SAFETY DEPARTMENT
Date: May 14, 2020
Town’s Fire Danger Level Escalated to High, Seasonal Outlook for Fire
Risk Increased Regionally Overall
CAVE CREEK – The Town’s Building and Fire Official, Mike Baxley, recently escalated the fire danger level to high due to the drying of vegetation, and is preparing for increased wildfire risks due to above normal rains that caused heavy fuel loading this past winter.
The Predictive Services division of the National Interagency Fire Center is also projecting significant wildfire potential that will be above normal for the Phoenix Valley and other parts of Arizona in May and June. Combined with the invasion of Stinknet in Cave Creek (also referred to as Globe Chamomile) the community is poised for a very active fire season.
In addition, U.S. Forest Service enacted stage 2 fire restrictions and recreational shooting bans across the Southwestern Region to reduce wildfires. The bans include the neighboring Tonto National Forest, which cited amplified risk of wildfire in areas that are “increasingly vulnerable to drying conditions combined with the like resource shortage due to COVID-19 mitigation within our fire organization”.
The Town is asking its residents to remain vigilant in taking fire safety precautions, including creating a defensible space around their properties which is an area around structures where vegetation, debris and other types of combustible fuels have been cleared to reduce the spread of fire. More information can be found at the National Fire Protection Association.
Community members should also remove Stinknet and other weeds from their properties or at least mow it down, which can help reduce flame heights and temperatures in the event of a fire. The Town has published a press release with resources about managing Stinknet.
Vehicles are also a source of wildfires, dragging trailer chains and other equipment can cause sparks that lead to brush fires. Parking a hot engine over dry vegetation may ignite dry brush as well as worn brake pads that can throw sparks, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT).
The Town has taken steps to increase fire safety in the community, including wrapping up fire hydrant inspections for all 528 Cave Creek managed hydrants ensuring they are all functioning. The Building Department has also increased outreach to local homeowner associations and is informing all homeowners and contractors receiving permits about how to reduce fire risks in our community.
Rural Metro Fire Department (RMFD) has initial fire response abilities if a fire were to spark in the community. Their initial response to a brush fire would Include two fire engines, one brush truck, one water tanker and an ambulance that are based out of Cave Creek and Carefree. RMFD also has the ability to call on mutual aid if their resources are not sufficient to handle the brush fire.