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Wildfires burn in Arizona, but expert says fire season is almost over

PHOENIX -- Several wildfires are burning around the state, but according to one expert, the bulk of this year's fire season is over.

Mary Zabinski is a public information officer for the Southwest Coordination Center in Albuquerque. She said there are 12 fires burning right now in Arizona, with the largest one burning up north.

"The Bar M Fire is burning in the Coconino National Forest about five miles west of Mormon Lake," said Zabinski. "At last count, it was a little over 4,500 acres."

All of the fires are lightning-caused but are not threatening any lives or property. Zabinski said that in most cases, the lightning was accompanied by heavy monsoon rain that has kept the fires manageable and beneficial to Arizona's forests.

Zabinski said that Arizona's wildfire season usually ends around July 4 and monsoon season will help stave off fires.

"That part of the season has been drawn almost to a close just because of the seasonal monsoonal precipitation," said Zabinski.

That's freed Arizona fire crews to fight fires elsewhere.

"About 21 Arizona crews are in Utah, Idaho, Nevada, California, Oregon and Washington," said Zabinski.

She said the Arizona crews can be called back if they are needed in their home state.

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About the Author


Years with the company: I started on January 2, 2006.

Education: I was born in San Antonio, Texas, but we moved to Phoenix when I was one-year-old in 1957. I grew up here and graduated from Alhambra High School and attended Phoenix College.

Family: I am married to my wife Rene', who is a librarian in the Washington school district. During free time, I may be found playing basketball in the driveway with my son, Devin. He's also keeping me busy with school, Little League, and playing in chess tournaments around the Valley.

Favorite food: Lots of favorite food, but our favorite restaurant is Fajitas.

Favorite spot in Arizona: The Little America Hotel in Flagstaff.

Favorite news memory: We have to go back to October 15, 1979. I was a country music air personality at KROP Radio in Brawley, California, when we had a 6.7 earthquake. Thankfully, there were no deaths and only minor injuries, but the entire community was pretty freaked out and listening to the station on their transistor radios. I would not want to go through an earthquake again, but it sure was a great night to work in radio and see how it can make a difference in people's lives.

First job: Working as a stringer for 'The Arizona Republic' at high school football games. My first real job was flipping burgers at the old Sandy's Hamburgers at 51st Avenue and Indian School Road. My first radio job was as announcer at KALJ radio in Yuma in 1977.

First concert: Doug Oldham gospel concert in the 1970s at the old East High School in Phoenix.

Favorite sports team: Phoenix Roadrunners minor league hockey. My dad took me to a game when I was in grade school, and I was hooked. I wanted to be a radio hockey play-by-play man. I used to take my cassette recorder and sit up in the rafters of the Coliseum and do play-by-play. It was great later in life to also take my son to Roadrunners games. Too bad the team just folded, I'll miss them. (Going to the Coyotes is fun, but they're not "my" team.)

Outside interests: My family and I are active in our church - Northern Hills Community Church in Phoenix. We enjoy going to movies, sporting events, and like to vacation at the Beach Cottages in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. And I love to play catch, basketball, football with my son.

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