Thanks To Monsoons, Campfire Restrictions Lifted In Payson Ranger District

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Campfires will dot the Rim country landscape once again.

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While public lands around Payson and Young have received enough moisture to ease fire restrictions, some areas of the Tonto are still too dry to completely lift restrictions.

Campfire and smoking restrictions in place since late May have been lifted throughout the Payson Ranger District, except for the Willow Fire area.

The action was prompted by the recent arrival of monsoon rains, which have resulted in a dramatic increase in fuel moisture content and relative humidity, according to Fire Prevention Officer Gary Roberts. All forest closures in the district were lifted earlier in the week.

The Willow Fire area closure is south of the East Verde River and Doll Baby Road (FR406), west and southwest of the Cypress Thicket Road (FR414) until it meets Highway 87 at Rye and everything west of Highway 87 south of Rye to FR201 near Iron Dike.

While increased moisture has reduced fire danger in the Rim country's higher elevations, restrictions are still in effect in some lower elevations.

"While our public lands around Payson and Young have received enough moisture for us to ease our fire restrictions, some areas of the Tonto are still too dry for us to completely lift the restrictions," said Forest Supervisor Karl Siderits. "Just within the last week we have been dealing with wildfires like the Magazine Fire popping up at lower elevations."

For the parts of the Tonto still in restriction, activities including building campfires, using chainsaws and other combustion engines without spark arresters, smoking outside of a vehicle or cleared area and recreational shooting are prohibited.

Siderits pointed to recreational shooting as a strong reason to leave the restrictions in place at lower elevations.

"Three of the larger fires we've had on the Tonto this year were caused by target practice," said Sideritis. "By leaving these restrictions in place until the fire danger has truly passed, we will avoid wildfires like the
Diamond Fire."

Within the restriction areas of the Tonto, many of the developed recreation sites on the forest do allow fires in designated areas, mostly developed campgrounds and day-use sites around the forest's lakes, reservoirs and rivers and some other campgrounds.

For more information, visit the Tonto website at www.fs.fed.us/r3 tonto or call (602) 225-5200. For information about restrictions and closures on other Tonto National Forest districts, call (480) 595-3346 for Cave Creek Ranger District, (928) 402-6200 for Globe Ranger District, (480) 610-3300 for Mesa Ranger District, (928) 462-4300 for Pleasant Valley Ranger District, and (928) 467-3200 for Tonto Basin Ranger District.

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