PAYSON, Ariz. — The Tonto National Forest will initiate Stage 1 fire restrictions Thursday morning to minimize the risk of wildfire damage.
State trust lands in Maricopa, Pinal, and Gila counties will also launch Stage 1 restrictions starting Thursday, according to the Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management (DFFM). The restrictions also apply to state parks located outside of the incorporated municipalities of these three counties.
VERSIÓN EN ESPAÑOL: Restricciones de fuego de Etapa 1 en vigor en Arizona
DFFM said the restrictions include the following:
- No building or maintaining a fire or stove fire outside of a structure that is provided by the Forest Service
- No discharging firearms or air rifles
- No smoking outside of buildings or developed recreation sites. Smoking is still permitted inside buildings and within an area cleared of all flammable materials in a three-foot diameter.
The Forest Service said persons engaged in legal hunting activity pursuant to state, federal, or tribal laws are allowed to discharge a firearm while hunting wildlife.
A violation of the agency's fire restrictions is punishable by a fine of up to $5,000 and imprisonment for up to six months.
Portions of the Payson and Pleasant Valley Ranger Districts including portions of the Pinal Mountains on the Globe Ranger District are exempt from the restrictions.
The restrictions will remain in place until the Forest Service determines the risk of human-caused fires has been reduced.
Stage 1 restrictions are already in place on state trust lands in La Paz, Mohave, and Yuma counties.
More info about Arizona's fire restrictions can be found here.
Up to Speed
Residents in wildfire-prone areas are urged to have an emergency supplies kit to bring with them of they are evacuated from their homes, especially as Arizona residents are beginning to see early widespread fire activity throughout the state.
An emergency supply kit should be put together long before a wildfire or another disaster occurs. Make sure to keep it easily accessible so you can take it with you when you have to evacuate.
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends that residents near a disaster store emergency supplies in a plastic tub, small suitcase, trash can, backpack, or other containers.
Residents should make sure they have the necessities, such as three gallons of water per person and a three-day supply of ready-to-eat food, the NFPA said. A first-aid kit, prescription medications, contact lenses, and non-prescription drugs should also be taken into account.
Copies of any important family documents, including insurance policies, identification, bank account records, and emergency contact numbers should also be taken and put into a waterproof, portable container in your kit, the NFPA said.
The association lists other items that would help in a disaster, including:
- Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person
- Battery-powered or hand-cranked radio and a NOAA weather radio to receive up-to-date information
- Dust mask or cotton T-shirt to filter the air
- Matches in a waterproof container
- Complete change of clothing including long pants, long sleeve shirts, and sturdy shoes stored in a waterproof container
- Signal flare
The entire NFPA checklist of supplies can be found here.