No Weekend Fires, But Plenty Of Citations

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While there were no forest fires in the Payson Ranger District over the weekend, Forest Service officers were kept busy enforcing campfire restrictions in the area.

"We had no fires over the weekend," said Fire Management Officer Pat Velasco, "but we did issue 10 violation notices for campfires and put out several abandoned campfires.

"In one case, the person was five feet away from the campfire restriction sign."

Velasco said Forest Service personnel are patrolling day and night in an effort to combat fires in the forest.

The Town of Payson is not far behind.
Payson Assistant Fire Chief Don Rose said once the Forest Service goes to extreme fire danger, that's what the town goes by.

"We stay there until the monsoons," he said. "We cancel all burning permits. We run first alarms on any fire -- we call everybody out in case of a brush fire."

Rose said the fire department has responded to several brush fires within the past few months, all of which have been contained to less than an acre.

The fires have all been caused by carelessness, he said. "Basically, it's been people walking by an area, throwing a lit cigarette, or someone throwing a cigarette from a car, children playing with matches, that sort of thing.

"The town and the Forest Service are at extreme fire danger right now," Rose said. "We want people to be careful so we don't have to respond to anything."

In the Payson Ranger District, campfires are restricted to campfire rings in developed campgrounds and in camping areas along the East Verde River.

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