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Arizona joins multistate wildfire compact, opening up more resources

On Friday morning, Gov. Katie Hobbs signed a bill that allows Arizona to join the Great Plains Interstate Fire Compact. Officials say that will make it easier to get help to fight wildfires. 

The compact includes Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, North and South Dakotas and Wyoming, as well as the Canadian province of Saskatchewan. 

"Arizona has been one of five states that has not been part of a fire compact for a long time, " said Tom Torres, Arizona state forester. "Today, we remedy that. And so this really provides a lot more resources and the ability to be more responsive to wildfire across the state," Torres said.

Officials say that joining the compact expands Arizona’s resource pool for equipment and wildland resources, as the state is entering the time of year when fire activity increases.

When signing the bill, Hobbs said it will protect the state’s communities, residents and infrastructure.

“The support provided by the compact will take a huge strain off of local resources, allowing them longer recovery times before reengaging with new wildfire assignments or incidents," Hobbs said. 

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Greg Hahne started as a news intern at KJZZ in 2020 and returned as a field correspondent in 2021. He learned his love for radio by joining Arizona State University's Blaze Radio, where he worked on the production team.