Fire restrictions begin on 4 national forests in Arizona

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — Campfire and smoking restrictions began Wednesday morning on the Coconino, Kaibab, Prescott and Apache-Sitgreaves national forests in order to protect public health and reduce preventable human-caused fires.

The Bert fire in the Kaibab National Forest has reached 2,175 acres in size, Williams, Arizona, June 2016 | Photo courtesy U.S. Forest Service, St. George News
This June 2016 photo shows a lightning-caused fire, he Bert Fire, in the Kaibab National Forest at 2,175 acres in size; lightning is one of the primary causes of wildfires alongside human-caused fires. Read how human attention can prevent wildfires here.  Williams, Arizona, June 2016 | Photo courtesy U.S. Forest Service, St. George News

Under the restrictions, fires, campfires, charcoal, coal and wood stoves are allowed in developed campgrounds only, which are managed by concessionaires or have campground hosts.

The restrictions also limit smoking to within enclosed vehicles or buildings or in developed campgrounds. Using a device that is solely fueled by liquefied petroleum gas that can be turned on and off is allowed in areas that are clear of flammable materials. Fireworks are always prohibited on national forest lands.

On the Prescott National Forest, Stage I restrictions will not allow shooting firearms due to the drier conditions. However, this activity will be allowed on the other national forests.

The forests use fire restrictions to help prevent unwanted, human-caused fires and to limit the exposure of users during periods of dangerous fire conditions. Implementation of fire restrictions normally occurs based on a combination of factors that are carefully measured.

Criteria used to determine when to implement restrictions include things such as current and predicted weather, fuel moisture, fire activity levels and available firefighting resources. Additional restrictions may be applied as conditions warrant. In-depth details and criteria for implementing fire restrictions can be found online at the Coconino National Forest website.

Additionally, an explanation of the different stages of fire restrictions and what is typically prohibited during those stages can also be found there.

Fire restrictions typically remain in effect until the forests receive significant precipitation, at which time they will be rescinded.

Forest officials would also like to remind forest users that building and maintaining a campfire on the national forest while under fire restrictions is a violation that carries a mandatory appearance in federal court. Visitors should use extra caution when recreating on all public lands during fire season.

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