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Governor: Wildfire threat worsened by drought

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PHOENIX (CBS5/AP) -

Gov. Jan Brewer is calling on Arizona residents to be vigilant about preventing wildfires in the wake of an ongoing drought that has left the state even more vulnerable.

Brewer said the threat of wildfires is even more intense this year because of drier conditions and people simply being careless.

She said Wednesday that there have already been 179 wildfires this year and they were all preventable.

Brewer was joined by State Forester Scott Hunt and Bill VanBruggen, the U.S. Forest Service's director of fire and aviation for the southwest region, at Wednesday's news conference.

Her comments were part of Wildfire Prevention Week in Arizona, which lasts through Friday.

Experts with the National Interagency Fire Center said the bone-dry conditions Arizona is experiencing now are a lot like the conditions normally seen in May.

And conditions in some areas just outside the Phoenix limits resemble those in the brush-choked areas of western Yavapai County, where 19 Prescott-based firefighters were killed in the Yarnell Hill Fire on June 30.

Copyright 2014 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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