SRP Emphasizes Importance of Lowering Wildfire Risk
Wildfires Have Potential to Impact Valley’s Water
The wildfire season has just begun for Arizona’s high country, and so far more than 2,000 acres have burned in the SRP watersheds – a vital source of water for the Phoenix metropolitan area.
Nationally, about nine out of 10 wildfires are human caused. These preventable wildfires threaten lives, property and our natural resources. SRP Forest Health Management Principal Elvy Barton is reminding residents traveling north to escape the heat to be aware of wildfire hazards.
"Whether you’re a first-time visitor to our forests or a national forest expert, you play a valuable role in preventing wildfires and protecting our watershed," Barton said.
Over the last 20 years, large wildfires have ravaged the Salt and Verde River watersheds. Drought conditions combined with overgrown, unhealthy forests put the watershed at a high risk of wildfires this year.
SRP manages the water supply for much of the Valley – most of which comes from 8.3 million acres of land in northern Arizona. Snowfall and rain provide the water that travels through the watershed into SRP reservoirs, which is delivered to homes and businesses via canals.
Last year, wildfires burned more than 350,000 acres of forest in and around the Salt and Verde River watersheds.
Wildfires also degrade water quality and our water resiliency. After a wildfire, rainfall washes ash and debris into rivers and reservoirs. The large amount of material that washes into SRP’s reservoirs reduces our water storage capacity, damages water infrastructure and creates dangerous post-wildfire flooding events.
Here are a few tips on how to prevent wildfires while traveling to your destination:
- Don’t park vehicles on dry vegetation.
- Check your tire pressure before leaving.
- Don’t drag tow chains.
While you are enjoying the diverse and beautiful forests, make sure to:
- Check and follow all forest and local government fire restrictions.
- Build campfires in an open location away from vegetation.
- Put out campfires until they are cold.
- Don’t leave campfires unattended.
See an interactive map of closures and restrictions for national forests so you can plan ahead. Know before you go.
SRP is committed to reducing the wildfire risk on the watersheds through forest restoration partnerships, but we can’t do it alone. Restoring our forests to a healthy state requires government agencies, businesses, customers and forest visitors do their part.
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SRP is a community-based, not-for-profit public power utility and the largest provider of electricity in the greater Phoenix metropolitan area, serving more than 1 million customers. SRP is also the metropolitan area’s largest supplier of water, delivering about 800,000 acre-feet annually to municipal, urban and agricultural water users.