High wildfire danger has prompted public-lands agencies to impose campfire and smoking restrictions and other prohibitions across Southeastern Arizona.
The restrictions, which go into effect on Tuesday, May 1, apply to lands of the Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management, Bureau of Land Management Gila District, all districts of the Coronado National Forest, Saguaro National Park, Casa Grande Ruins National Monument, Coronado National Memorial, Chiricahua National Monument, Fort Bowie National Historic Site, Tumacácori National Historical Park, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument and the San Bernardino, Leslie Canyon and Buenos Aires national wildlife refuges.
The following activities will be prohibited:
- Building, maintaining, attending, or using a fire, campfire, charcoal, coal, or wood stove fire, including within a developed recreation site or improved site.
- Using an explosive.
- Smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle or building. Smoking is prohibited in all federal buildings.
- Operating or using any equipment powered by an internal-combustion engine, except motor vehicles.
- Welding or operating acetylene or other torches with an open flame.
- Discharging a firearm, air rifle or gas gun, except while engaged in a lawful hunt pursuant to state, federal, or tribal law, and regulations.
- Possessing or operating motor vehicles off National Forest system roads, including, but not limited to, cars, trucks, SUVs, motorcycles, and ATVs, except when parking in an area devoid of vegetation within 10 feet of the roadway, and except for parking overnight in Forest Service developed campgrounds and trailheads.
Fireworks are prohibited year-round on federal lands.
Coronado Forest spokeswoman Heidi Schewel noted the penalties for violations:
“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.”
While campfires will be prohibited, pressurized liquid or gas stoves, lanterns and heaters with shutoff devices are allowed.
Those using portable stoves are cautioned to make sure the area is clear of grasses and other fuels and to prevent stoves from tipping over.
Officials advised additional precautions:
- Use an ashtray rather than throwing cigarettes out of a vehicle window.
- Never park a vehicle over dead grass, because the vehicle’s catalytic converter can ignite the vegetation.