Fire restrictions for Southern Arizona begin Wednesday

2013-06-18T10:04:00Z Fire restrictions for Southern Arizona begin WednesdayKimberly Matas Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
June 18, 2013 10:04 am  • 

High wildfire danger is prompting campfire and smoking restrictions, Bureau of Land Management officials said.

The restrictions go into effect Wednesday in southeastern Arizona, including all districts of the Coronado National Forest, Saguaro National Park, Coronado National Memorial, Chiricahua National Monument, Fort Bowie National Historic Site, Tumacácori National Historical Park, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument and the Arizona State Forestry Division, Diane Drobka, spokeswoman for the BLM Gila District, said in a news release.

Beginning Wednesday, and until further notice, the following will be prohibited:

  • Building, maintaining, attending, or using a fire; campfire; charcoal, coal, or wood stove including fires in developed campgrounds or improved sites.
  • Smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle or building.
  • Discharging a firearm except while engaged in a lawful hunt pursuant to state, federal, or tribal laws and regulations.
  • Operating any internal combustion engine, except operating motorized vehicles on designated roads so long as you park in an area devoid of vegetation within 10 feet of the roadway.
  • Welding, or operating acetylene or other torches with an open flame.
  • Using an explosive.

Fireworks are always prohibited year-round on federal lands, Drobka said.

Violation of restrictions on federal lands is punishable as a Class B misdemeanor, which includes a fine of not more than $5,000 for an individual and up to $10,000 for organizations and possible imprisonment for not more than six months or both. Violators may also be held personally responsible for reimbursement of fire suppression costs.

Pressurized liquid or gas stoves, lanterns and heaters possessing shut-off devices are allowed.

“When using a portable stove, make sure the area is clear of grasses and other fine fuels. Prevent stoves from tipping and starting a fire,” Drobka said.  

“Cigarettes should never be thrown out the window of a vehicle. Instead, ashtrays should be used in order to prevent wildfires,” she said. And, “never park a vehicle over dead grass; the catalytic converter can ignite the vegetation.”

Fire conditions as well as localized closures and restrictions are subject to change.  Because tribal, federal, state, and local mandates are different, they may have some differences in their restriction notices.  For a more detailed explanation concerning agency restrictions and fire information in general, go to http://wildlandfire.az.gov or call the Southwest Fire Restrictions Hotline at 877-864-6985.

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