Phoenix AZ (May 21, 2014) – To reduce the looming threat of summer wildfires following one of Arizona’s driest winters on record, officials have announced fire restrictions for many locations throughout Arizona. The restrictions take effect just as the busy Memorial Day weekend begins on Friday, May 23.
Fire danger conditions, local closures and restrictions are subject to change. Many of the state’s most popular destinations will be affected by the fire restrictions that take effect this Friday.
Stage II and elevated fire restrictions have been issued for Prescott National Forest and Tonto National Forest. The following activities will be prohibited in these forests as of May 23:
- Building, maintaining, attending or using a fire or campfire
- Smoking, except in an enclosed vehicle or building
- Possessing, using or discharging fireworks or pyrotechnic device
- Discharging a firearm, except during a lawful hunt
- Using explosives
- Operating chainsaws or equipment with internal combustion engines between the hours of 1 p.m. and 1 a.m.
- Using internal or external combustion engines without properly installed, approved, working spark arrestors
- Welding and use of acetylene or other torches with open flame
- Using or operating motor vehicles off forest system roads, except when parking within 10 feet of a road where there is no brush or vegetation, or overnight parking in developed campgrounds and trailheads
Officials also announced Stage I fire restrictions for specific lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management. In addition to the Stage II and elevated fire restrictions listed above, the discharge of air rifles, exploding targets or gas guns except during a lawful hunt will be also be prohibited on lands managed by the BLM Lower Sonoran and Hassayampa field offices, BLM land in the counties of Maricopa, Pima, Pinal and Yavapai, the Sonoran Desert National Monument and the Agua Fria National Monument. Exceptions and exclusions to fire restrictions in these BLM-administered areas will permit certain limited activities, including:
- Fires in fire rings or grills provided by officials in developed campsites or picnic areas
- Smoking in areas with a diameter of at least 10 feet that are clear of brush and all flammable materials
- Use of devices solely fueled by liquid petroleum or LPG fuels that can be turned on and off in areas clear of all overhead and surrounding flammable materials within three feet of the device
- Otherwise prohibited activities are allowed if a person possesses a written permit authorizing the activity, as well as in areas where written and posted notice specifically authorizes the activity
The Gila River Fire Department has issued Open Burning Permit Restrictions and Moratorium, which is a community no-burn notice that prohibits outdoor fires typically used to dispose of refuse.
For more information about restrictions in specific locations, visit the Arizona Interagency Wildfire Prevention and Information website at http://wildlandfire.az.gov