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May 1 is the beginning of the fire ban in desert parks and preserves in Phoenix and Maricopa County

There is a year-round ban on smoking outside of vehicles in the whole park system.

MARICOPA, Ariz. — The heat is on. It’s a clear sign summer is just around the corner.

Phoenix Parks and Recreation is sending out a reminder that it’s putting its annual fire ban in desert parks and preserves into effect on May 1, the same day Maricopa County Parks and Recreation is initiating its annual fire ban.

“These last several years we’ve had some unexpected wildfire events in some of our park and preserve areas, so we’re very cautious,” said Claire Miller with Phoenix Parks and Recreation.

“Where you might be accustomed to going for a picnic, like at Papago Mountain or at South Mountain or North Mountain Park, where we have ramadas and barbecue grills, no charcoal fires or wood fires in any areas,” Miller said.

But there is an alternative.

“We allow you to bring your propane grill from home,” she said. “As long as you bring it up and have it in one of the ramada areas that’s contained.”

When it comes to smoking, in the whole park system, there’s no smoking outside of your vehicles. That’s a year-round ban.

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This is also that time of year the city and county leaders are asking homeowners that live near parks and mountain preserves, to trim a defensible space of 10 feet around your property.

“Some of the dry brush or the dead grasses, just to make it a little bit more firewise,” she said.

For hikers, the trailheads will remain open unless the national weather service issues an excessive heat warning. In that case, the city will close popular hiking areas in places like Camelback Mountain and Piestewa Peak from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. to keep everyone safe.

“But the general hiking experience isn’t going to change for anybody,” Miller said.

That is, as long as Phoenicians keep the city’s "Take a hike, do it right" safety messages in mind.

“Wear your hat, your good shoes, bring plenty of water, have a good-charged cell phone, hike with a buddy or tell somebody where you’re going to be and when you anticipate coming back,” she said.

VERSIÓN EN ESPAÑOL: El 1ro de mayo empieza la prohibición de fuegos en parques del desierto y preservas de Phoenix y el Condado Maricopa

If it’s over 100 degrees, Miller said you must leave your dog at home or expect to hear from a park ranger.

“We have a lot of dogs go into distress on the trails from time to time, they’d rather be taking a nap on the cool kitchen floor,” Miller said.

It’s especially important to watch out for the children and vulnerable adults in your life, those who are more susceptible to heat exhaustion or heat stroke.

As for the fire ban, those restrictions typically last until Labor Day, but this year’s end date is still to be determined based on conditions.

“Whether we get monsoon rains or not, how much dry vegetation might be out in the field,” she said.

So, as long as the fire ban is in effect, be sure to stay vigilant to prevent fires from igniting.

Last year, we had some good monsoon activity, so the city was able to lift the fire ban a little earlier. Let’s hope that’s the case again this year.

You can click here for more information on the City of Phoenix fire ban.

For more information on the Maricopa County fire ban click here.

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