FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — It's important to be aware of the fire dangers as people visit Arizona forests while heading into the summer months.
The peak of Arizona wildfire season is almost here and officials are already preparing for an active season.
Starting at 8 a.m. on May 25, Stage 2 fire restrictions will be implemented on all State Trust Land in Southern Arizona including within:
- Cochise County
- Graham County
- Greenlee County
- Pima County
- Pinal County
- Santa Cruz County
Likewise, beginning at 8 a.m. on May 26, Stage 2 fire restrictions will be implemented at the Coconino and Tonto national forests, officials said. The decision to update the restrictions was due to warmer weather conditions, increased fire danger and for public safety.
Officials remind residents that target shooting and fireworks are never allowed on state land at any time of the year.
Officials said the forests were under Stage 1 fire restrictions since May 5. That stage prohibits campfires across the forest and limits them to developed recreation sites only.
But what are the Stage 2 restrictions? Here's what they prohibit:
- Building, maintaining, or using a fire, campfire, or stove fire, including charcoal, coal, and briquettes. This includes smudge pots and wood stoves. The only exception is using a stove or grill that is solely fueled by pressurized liquid petroleum or pressurized liquid petroleum gas (LPG) fuels.).
- Smoking (except within an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed recreation site, or while stopped in an area at least 3 feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of any flammable material).
- Blasting, welding, or operating any acetylene or other torch with an open flame.
- During the hours of 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., operating a generator, chainsaw or other equipment powered by an internal combustion engine for felling, bucking, skidding, processing, road building and woodcutting during industrial operations or firewood gathering capable of igniting a fire. An exception is allowed for operating generators with an approved spark arrestor in an area barren or cleared of all overhead and surrounding flammable materials within 3 feet of the generator.
Another recommendation from forest officials is to use caution and keep from driving over areas of vegetation to place their trailers or to unload their tents and camping supplies. Catalytic converters and other heat sources under your vehicle could catch the surrounding area on fire.
Authorities also continue to remind visitors that fireworks of any kind are not allowed in national forests.
These fire restrictions are expected to remain in effect until the forest receives significant precipitation or until Aug. 31. Those who violate these restrictions could receive a punishment in the form of a fine of up to $5,000, imprisonment of up to six months, or both.
You can click here to find a full map of fire restrictions on federal and state managed land.
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