/ Modified jun 11, 2021 3:11 p.m.

Wildfire risk, housing affordability, political power rankings

Plus, how Arizona's restaurants are rebounding from pandemic-related setbacks.

June marks one year since lightning ignited the Bighorn Fire which would go on to burn nearly 120,000 acres across the Santa Catalina Mountains before crews fully contained it more than a month later. We asked the U.S. Forest Service’s Heidi Schewel to assess the wildfire risk on the Coronado National Forest where last year’s Bighorn Fire burned. Schewel described worsening drought conditions and called on visitors to follow fire restrictions.

The pandemic's impact on American’s finances proved to be uneven. While so many struggled to keep a roof over their heads, others became homeowners. According to the Pew Research Center, the number of homeowners increased by more than two million in the last year compared to 2019. This week we discussed demand across the state with Arizona Department of Housing Director Tom Simplot who was appointed to his role in May.

Restaurants and retailers looking to rebound from the pandemic are finding labor is in short supply. Both industries scaled back their workforces over the last year and now some are struggling to hire employees. Arizona Restaurant Association President Steve Chucri discussed how some restaurants are trying to attract employees and described how the pandemic set the industry back financially in 2020.

One way restaurants adapted in Tucson involved taking advantage of patio extension programs that made it possible for them to offer outdoor seating and rely less on takeout. Now with occupancy restrictions indoors no longer in place, Tony Paniagua reports on whether pop-up patios are here to stay.

Mexico’s historic midterm elections on June 6 saw the election of new leaders to thousands of open seats across all levels of government. In Sonora, voters elected the country’s former security secretary, Alfonso Durazo, as their next governor. KJZZ Hermosillo Bureau reporter Kendal Blust discussed his agenda, other headlines from the election and whether an uptick in violence leading up to the election impacted turnout.

Arizonans have a number of high-profile races appearing on their midterm ballots in 2022 including seats for U.S. Senate and governor. Candidates on both sides of the aisle have thrown their hats into the arena: Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs declared her plans to run for governor recently and Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich said this week he plans to challenge U.S. Sen. Mark Kelly. Both make appearances on Oh Predictive Insight’s power rankings. The Phoenix polling firm’s Mike Noble explained what the list measures and discussed notable rankings.

Arizona 360
Arizona 360 airs Fridays at 8:30 p.m. on PBS 6 and Saturdays at 8 p.m. on PBS 6 PLUS. See more from Arizona 360.
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