Tonto Forest Issues First Round Of Fire Restrictions

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For the first time this year, the U.S. Forest Service has issued fire restrictions for the Tonto National Forest.

The restrictions, caused by dry conditions, hot temperatures and extreme fire danger, will go into effect at 8 a.m. Wednesday.

The restrictions affect the Pinal Mountains south of Globe, as well as the areas north of Roosevelt Lake and east of the Verde River, Forest Service officials said. Only the upper elevations containing chaparral, brush and pine trees are under restriction.

The restrictions limit campfires to fire rings within established campgrounds and prohibit charcoal fires, smoking, chain saw use, welding, operating machinery without spark arresters, and the discharge of firearms except in legal hunting activities.

Use of petroleum-fueled stoves, lanterns and heating devices are allowed within areas where restrictions apply.

The restrictions have been imposed to limit the risk of human-caused wildland fires, Forest Fire Management Officer Tim Bos said.

"Fire restrictions are needed at this time to protect natural resources, structures and forest users from potential wildland fires, although we want the public to understand that this action is not intended to exclude our visitors from enjoying quality recreation experiences," Bos said.

The entire forest including campgrounds, trails and picnic areas remain open within the limitations of the fire restrictions. In the restricted areas, the following campgrounds and camping areas allow campfires in provided campfire rings:

Payson Ranger District: Houston Mesa, Ponderosa, Tonto Creek (Upper and Lower), Christopher Creek.

Globe Ranger District: Icehouse/Civilian Conservation Corps, Pinal, Pioneer Pass, Upper Pinal, Sulphide del Ray.

Pleasant Valley Ranger District: Colcord, Alderwood, Airplane Flat, Reynold's Creek, Upper Canyon Creek, Rose Creek, Valentine Ridge, Workman Creek, Haigler Canyon, Sawmill Flats.

For more information regarding recreation sites and fire restrictions, call the Tonto National Forest at (602) 225-5200.

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