Photo: 30 Border Fires Attributed to Illegal Aliens Crossing
According to the U.S. Government Accountability Office, from 2006 through 2010, at least 2,467 wildland fires occurred in the Arizona border region. Of this number, 2,126, or about 86 percent, were caused by human activity.
The total number of fires ignited by illegal border crossers on federal lands in the Arizona border region is not fully known, in part because federal land management agencies have not conducted investigations of all human-caused wildland fires.
Of the 77 fires investigated, 30 identified illegal border crossers as a suspected source of ignition.
According to agency officials, the presence of illegal border crossers has increased concerns about firefighter safety and, in some instances, has required firefighters to change or limit the tactics they use in suppressing fires.
Human-caused wildland fires are of particular concern in Arizona—especially within 100 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border because this is a primary area of entry for illegal border crossers and GAO has previously reported that illegal border crossers have been suspected of igniting wildland fires.