Joint effort to address wildfire risk around Scottsdale's McDowell Sonoran Preserve

Scottsdale Fire, city departments, Tonto National Forest partner to train, reduce potential fuels around community asset

With the increased threat of wildfire this year, Scottsdale Fire Department is teaming up with Scottsdale’s McDowell Sonoran Preserve, Community Services and Fields Services departments, and the Tonto National Forest on May 16 for a joint wildfire prevention exercise in Scottsdale. The training will include clearing brush along Bell Road east of Thompson Peak. 

The exercise is the first step in an effort to increase the adaptability and effectiveness of the region’s wildfire response.  It also marks the launch of the Scottsdale Fire’s first ever Wildfire Handcrew. The handcrew is a mobile, highly adaptable configuration of firefighters with wildfire training and expertise.

This is not the first effort to reduce the risks of wildfire danger in the north part of Scottsdale this spring. Scottsdale Fire, Field Services, Community Services and preserve staff are working to address several rights-of-way and Trailhead driveways and parking lots to help address fire prevention around the preserve perimeter and trailheads.  Prior to Memorial Day Weekend, preserve staff is coordinating fire risk management improvements with all assisting departments along:

  • 136th Street north of Rio Verde Drive
  • Rio Verde Drive west of 136th Street
  • Stagecoach Pass east of Pima
  • Thompson Peak Parkway north of Bell Road
  • All preserve trailheads

The McDowell Sonoran Preserve encompasses more than 30,000 acres of protected natural desert open space in Scottsdale and includes some of the Valley’s most scenic lands. It is a $1 billion community asset that is vulnerable to wildfires each summer.

On Tuesday, the SFD Wildfire Handcrew will be training with Tonto National Forest staff on various aspects of wildfire suppression.  This training will also have the dual goal of reducing potential fuel and adding defensible spaces around high-risk areas of the Preserve. 

For more information about how to reduce the wildfire risks around homes, visit our wildfire prevention information pages.

Subscribe to Scottsdale Update


Get the latest Scottsdale news & events in your inbox each week -- just enter your email above.

The Scottsdale Update printed newsletter is included in utility bills six times each year. Download recent issues below (PDF)

Scottsdale Video Network