January 19, 2021

Predicted Arizona dry year could impact trees, cause fires

After driest year on record in 2020, no relief is in sight

Water forecast This stretch of the Colorado River near Moab, Utah is currently in extreme drought.
Luke Runyon/KUNC

Experts have predicted another dry year for Arizona following 2020, when the driest year on record stressed forests across the state’s northern region.

The dry conditions are expected to have significant impacts on the health of trees and increase wildfire danger.

The U.S. Drought Monitor reported Flagstaff experienced only 9.56 inches of precipitation in 2020.

The dry conditions stress trees including Northern Arizona's Ponderosa pine. Flagstaff Forest Health Supervisor Neil Chapman says drought in 2020 also means earlier fire restrictions and other public land impacts this summer, while ongoing dry winter conditions raise the fire risk throughout this year.

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