The sole survivor of last summer's deadly Yarnell Hill Fire has resigned as an Arizona firefighter to take a job in Idaho. As Arizona Public Radio's Gillian Ferris reports, Brendan McDonough will be working with wildland firefighters suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
The West is experiencing one of the driest winter stretches on record, and that’s got forest ecologists concerned about what these drought conditions will mean for fire season. Dr. Wally Covington is the executive director of the Ecological Restoration Institute at Northern Arizona University.
A controversial study that questions decades of forest ecology research has made headlines across the country. The study -- published earlier this year -- raised eyebrows especially in the west where forest managers have been trying to prevent severe wildfires for decades.
While New Mexico has received enough rain to lift some fire restrictions, other parts of the southwest are still dry. That makes them vulnerable to lightning sparked fires, as well as human caused fires.
Humans start about half of the fires in the southwest. In southern California it’s a lot more -- about 90 percent are caused by people. Fire managers say the closer you get to a big city, where the population is dense, the more human caused fires. The top causes are unattended campfires, trash pile burning and arson.