ST. GEORGE — Heightened wildfire conditions have prompted the officials to impose fire restrictions southeastern Utah and northwestern Arizona.
The National Park Service has implemented restrictions at Arches and Canyonlands national parks and Natural Bridges and Hovenweep national monuments.
Officials say fires will be permitted only in designated fire grates in developed campgrounds and picnic areas.
Open fires are prohibited in backcountry campsites, but petroleum-fueled stoves and grills will still be permitted in designated backcountry campsites, as well as in developed campgrounds and picnic areas.
Officials say petroleum-fueled stoves are recommended in cooking for campers in the river corridors where there are no designated campsites. Also, visitors camping in river corridors may also use a charcoal fire if the fire is completely contained in a metal fire pan.
In addition, the Kaibab National Forest implemented campfire and smoking restrictions, also known as Stage I fire restrictions, on the North Kaibab Ranger District and additional fire restrictions, also known as Stage II fire restrictions, across the entire Williams and Tusayan Ranger Districts. Fire restrictions have been in place for these two districts since May 4.
The new restrictions limit the kinds of activities typically allowed on the forest and will remain in effect until significant and widespread moisture arrives.
Under the restrictions across the North Kaibab Ranger District, fires, campfires, charcoal, coal and wood stoves are prohibited, except within the following specific developed recreation sites:
- Big Springs Rental Cabins
- Jacob Lake Campground
- Jacob Lake Group Campground & Picnic Site
- DeMotte Campground
Stage I restrictions also limit smoking to within enclosed vehicles or buildings or in the listed developed recreation sites.
Using a device that is solely fueled by liquid petroleum or LPG fuels that can be turned on and off is allowed in areas that are barren or cleared of all overhead and surrounding flammable materials within 3 feet of the device.
Fireworks are always prohibited on all National Forest lands.
The Forest Service uses fire restrictions to help prevent unwanted, human-caused fires and to limit the exposure of visitors during periods of potentially 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, a variety of science-based indices, fire activity levels and available firefighting resources. Additional restrictions may be applied any time that conditions warrant.
Forest officials also remind visitors that having a campfire on the National Forest while under fire restrictions is a violation that carries a mandatory appearance in federal court. Violations are punishable by a fine of not more than $5,000, imprisonment of not more than six months or both.
These fire restrictions apply only to the North Kaibab Ranger District of the Kaibab National Forest. However, many city, state and county agencies implement similar restrictions, so members of the public should check with the appropriate agency on any restrictions applying to privately-owned property or other lands not within Kaibab National Forest jurisdictional boundaries.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.