We can all pitch in and prevent road-side brush fires

By Doug Nick / ADOT Communications

brush fireWe were sitting on the porch here at the ol’ ADOT Ranch -- a bucolic slice of heaven somewhere near Sunflower, at least in our fevered minds -- pondering cliches. Yep, we avoid cliches like the plague.

Uh… never mind. 

One of the biggest cliches in Arizona is the old chestnut, “It’s a dry heat.” While true, we’re pretty sure the first guy who said it way back in 1887 was promptly plugged into Boot Hill in Tombstone. We can’t verify that, however. 

But we can confirm that as temperatures inexorably rise, the heat will dry out pretty much all of Arizona. And while we can hope and pray for refreshing monsoon rains to cool off the deserts and the forests at some point, the sad reality is there is a wildfire season in Arizona and it is… now. 

Some of these fires are started by dry lightning, some by careless people trekking into the wilderness and backwoods and some are started by people driving hither and yon on our highways. 

We can’t do much about lightning, and when public lands like forests are endangered by extreme fire conditions they can be restricted or closed. But highways? Unless there’s an active fire or some other unusual circumstance, the roads are generally open to traffic all the time in warm weather months. 

That’s where we all can pitch in. 

As this news release details, drivers have an important job when it comes to preventing wildfires. 

Unfortunately, as that release notes, the first. big fire-related highway closure occurred last weekend. It would be nice if that was the only incident we could count as summer draws closer, but history tells us that won’t be the case. 

ADOT’s main priority, our True North, is “Safely Home.” We mean it. We want people to travel safely on the road. We also want our state and its incomparable landscape to be safe from the ravages of preventable wildfires.

And that’s no cliche.