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Number Of Unattended Campfires On The Rise In Arizona

Earlier this week, the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest tweeted about the number of unattended campfires. 

Almost seven years ago, an unattended campfire led to the largest wildfire in Arizona History. That was the Wallow Fire, and it burned more than 530,000 acres.

Steven Johnson with the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest said they’ve seen a spike in unattended campfires. As of March 27, Johnson says 15 unattended campfires have been discovered.

"Of those 15, four of them have been classified as wildfires, meaning they escaped the actual campfire ring," said Johnson.

When putting out a campfire, Johnson recommends using the back of your hand to feel for hotspots. He said if there’s any warmth, chances are there’s an ember or a coal deep in the ashes. 

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Kathy Ritchie has 20 years of experience reporting and writing stories for national and local media outlets — nearly a decade of it has been spent in public media.