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June 8, 2021

UArizona Wildfire Experts Available

TUCSON, Ariz. — Four wildfires are burning in Arizona, and 10 states are reporting large wildfires to the National Interagency Fire Center. Experts warn that throughout the summer, the Western United States will need to brace for a higher-than-average risk of wildfires.

The Telegraph Fire ignited in Tonto National Forest on June 4 and has burned about 72,000 acres. It is 0% contained. The Mescal Fire, 12 miles northeast of Hayden, ignited on June 2 and has burned about 67,000 acres. It is 8% contained. The 100-acre Slate Fire, 23 miles northwest of Flagstaff, started June 7 and is uncontained. The Sam Fire, 8 miles north of the Graham County community of Bylas, has burned less than 500 acres and is 100% contained.

University of Arizona researchers are available to answer wildfire-related questions.

Donald Falk (available until June 14)
Professor, School of Natural Resources and the Environment

Expertise: Fire history, fire ecology, dendroecology, post-fire resilience and restoration ecology. Falk teaches an introductory class on wildfire science and restoration and can speak about possible links between wildfires and climate change, how ecosystems recover from wildfires, and tree-ring analysis. He has worked extensively in the Western U.S. and Mexico reconstructing historic fire regimes from tree rings.

Molly Hunter
Associate research professor, School of Natural Resources and the Environment

Expertise: Applied fire science, including ecological effects of wildfires and effectiveness of different fuel management actions. She works to disseminate scientific findings, identify critical fire science needs and evaluate outcomes.

Michael Crimmins (Unavailable June 10-15)
Professor and Cooperative Extension specialist – climate science

Expertise: How climate conditions can enhance or suppress wildfire conditions. He can also speak on fire weather patterns and the climatology of fire danger.

Luke McGuire
Assistant professor, Department of Geosciences

Expertise: Post-fire hazards, especially debris flows and landslides and the tools that help predict their occurrence. His research quantifies the changes among soils and vegetation that occur in burned areas and how this affects runoff, erosion and hazards.

Gregg Garfin
Associate professor, School of Natural Resources and the Environment
Deputy director for science translation and outreach, Institute of the Environment

Expertise: Works to translate and share environmental and climate science findings and techniques with resource managers, planners and policymakers in the region. He can speak about seasonal fire potential forecasts and links between wildfires and climate change.

Jim Malusa (Available on or after June 23)
Research scientist, School of Natural Resources and the Environment

Expertise: Wildlife recovery after a wildfire. He studies this by matching photos taken pre- and post-fire.