Most Common Natural Hazards

  1. Wildfires
  2. Dust Storms
  3. Extreme Heat
  4. Flooding
  5. Monsoon Storms

Wildfires often begin unnoticed but quickly spread and produce a noticeable dense smoke that can be seen for miles. Although many in the valley live in urban areas, other areas have what is called a “Wildland Urban Interface”, which creates an environment where fire can move readily between structures and vegetation. Residential and commercial expansion into these areas can increase the likelihood that wildfires may threaten structures and people, and are both dangerous and costly to fight.

Wildfires can be started by nature through lightning strikes and dry, hot weather conditions, but can also be human-caused by accident, carelessness or criminal intent. Maricopa County’s summer high temperatures and dry climate provide a combustible environment for all of these ignition methods. The lingering effects of a wildfire may include soil erosion, landslides, and reduced food for the local animal population. Here are some common things to avoid in areas with dry vegetation:

  • Using tools that create sparks
  • Dragging trailer safety chains
  • Carelessly tossing cigarettes
  • Using fireworks
  • Burning debris around homes and property
  • Discharging firearms
  • Abandoning campfires

BEFORE

  • Have an emergency plan created and a Go Bag packed. Visit: Maricopa.gov/preparedness for more tips on how to create a plan and a Go Bag.
  • Visit the Natural Fire Protection Association websiteto learn how to create defensible space around your home.
    • Design and landscape your home with wildfire safety in mind. Select materials and plants that can help contain fire rather than fuel it.
    • Trim tree branches away from your home. Ask the power company to clear branches from power lines.
    • Keep wood piles away from your home.
  • Keep handy household items that can be used as fire tools: a rake, axe, handsaw or chain saw, bucket, shovel, and hose.
  • Make sure your home address is visible from the roadway.

DURING

  • If you have not yet been told to evacuate, and have time, prepare your home by reducing drafts/radiant heat. Shut off gas/propane. Place a ladder against the house in clear view. Disconnect automatic garage door openers.
  • If you are outside and see smoke in your area, be aware of your surroundings and know several evacuation routes.
  • Don’t drive towards the fire. Avoid the area so you don’t impede emergency vehicle access.

AFTER

  • Drive with caution. Anticipate traffic light outages and obstacles in the road. Report broken utility lines and damaged roadways / railways to appropriate authorities as soon as possible.
  • Use extreme caution when entering buildings; there may be hidden damage.
  • Use caution around trees and other overhead obstructions. Stay away from burned areas.
  • If your home or property is damaged, take photos/videos of damage, list all damaged items, and contact your insurance agent to discuss claims.


READY, SET, GO for Evacuations

During any incident that may require you to evacuate, we want you to remember three things: READY, SET, GO

READY: Long before an emergency starts, you want to be prepared. Being READY means that you have an emergency plan created and a Go Bag packed. Visit: Maricopa.gov/preparedness for more tips on how to create a plan and a Go Bag.

SET: When the emergency starts, you need to be prepared to evacuate the area. Being SET mean that you put your go bag by the door, you gather your family and pets, including livestock and be poised to leave as soon as possible.

GO: Once you receive a notification to evacuate, GO as soon as possible. Take your pets with you.

Visit: https://ein.az.gov/ready-set-go for more information.


Wildfire Brochure (PDF)

Wildfire Brochure - Spanish (PDF)

Protect Your Home or Business From Wildland Fire Brochure - English (PDF)

Protect Your Home or Business from Wildland Fire Brochure - Spanish (PDF)

More Information on Wildfires

National Weather Service Fire Weather Map

Arizona Equine Rescue Organization, Inc.