AZ fire officials hire homeless people to spot wildfires

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POSTED: Thursday, April 17, 2014 - 12:44pm

UPDATED: Thursday, April 17, 2014 - 12:45pm

(KPNX) The fire danger in parts of Arizona is critical right now.

So forest and county managers are getting creative on how to prevent wildfires.

They've created a program called "Woods Watch" and they're recruiting homeless people who will be camping out in the woods.

Homeless people like Philip Rodefeld will be pitching a tent and setting up camp outdoors.

If a wildfire were to spark he just may be the first one on scene.

As part of the "Woods Watch" program, Rodefeld and others will be given a cell phone so they car report a blaze if one breaks out.

Fire crews are hoping their eyes and ears will give them an advantage when it comes to finding and fighting a fire faster.

This year's program kicks-off at a perfect time as parts of the state are under a fire ban beginning Friday.

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