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Fire marshal: Arizona's wildfire danger escalating

PHOENIX -- There's growing concern in communities like Heber-Overgaard, Pinetop, Lakeside, Show Low and other high country communities as the heat wave sets in.

Pinetop Fire Marshal Kelly Wood said store-bought notebook paper has more moisture in it than the humidity in that area.

"Notebook paper has 12 percent humidity and, right now, we're at 9 percent humidity here."

Wood said fire conditions are worse than they were two years ago when the Wallow Fire burned almost 550,000 acres in eastern Arizona. It become the largest fire in state history.

"Our energy release components show that there is a 95 percent chance that any spark that hits the ground would start a fire," said Wood. "During 2002, that number was at 98 percent and we had the 470,000-acre Rodeo-Chediski Fire. During the 2011 Wallow Fire, we were at 89 percent."

About the Author

Position: Senior News Reporter. Started with KTAR July 4, 1999.

Favorite spots in Arizona: Pinetop-Lakeside, Alpine, Greer.

Have covered some of the biggest stories in Arizona including nine of the top 10 largest wildfires in state history. The Wallow Fire in 2011 became the largest fire in state history. Rodeo-Chediski Fire in June 2002, which is the second largest fire in Arizona. Covered the Yarnell Hill Tragedy in June 2013 that left 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots dead.

Favorite movies: True Grit, both 1969 John Wayne classic and the remake with Jeff Bridges and Lonesome Dove.

Sports Teams: Washington State University Cougars, Texas Longhorns, The University of Montana Grizzlies.


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