Forest Service Starting Fire Restrictions

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Starting Tuesday, fire and smoking restrictions will be in effect in the Tonto National Forest.

All areas of the forest in the Payson Ranger District will be closed to campfires and smoking except within the provided campfire rings at Houston Mesa Campground, Flowing Springs, East Verde, and East Verde Crossing campgrounds, Waterwheel, Second Crossing and Third Crossing campgrounds off Highway 87 north of Payson; Ponderosa, Tonto Creek, and Christopher Creek campgrounds east of Payson off Highway 260.

Pat Velasco, fire management officer with the Payson Ranger District, said people can use propane or white gas stoves outside the campgrounds.

"They can still camp in the restricted areas, but they'd better have the appliances that use propane or white gas," he said.

People will also be allowed to smoke in enclosed vehicles, but not in restricted areas of the forest.

The use of chain saws and other engine-driven equipment, welding equipment, and internal or external combustion engines without a spark-arresting device will also be prohibited.

No shooting is allowed within the restricted areas in accordance with hunting laws.

"These restrictions will be in place until we get some moisture," Velasco said.

Violations of these restrictions are punishable by a fine of not more than $10,000, or imprisonment for not more than six months, or both.

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