Be Aware Of Campfire, Smoking Restrictions

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Winter rains and snow resulted in abundant plant growth across much of Arizona, causing an increase in fuels in many areas including around the Phoenix metro area.

"Now, prolonged dry weather, low humidity and gusty spring winds have resulted in dangerous fire conditions. There is an increased threat of small fires becoming major wildfires, especially when coupled with the windy conditions the state is experiencing," according to Helen Graham, Assistant Fire Management Officer BLM-Arizona.

Even with this week's chance of rain in the northern areas of the state, fire danger will quickly increase toward the weekend and remain high.

So far in 2008, Arizona has experienced 10 large wildfires (over 100 acres) burning around 16,000 acres, the largest reaching 5,000 acres. Three fires were of sufficient complexity to require an Incident Manage-ment team assignment.

On average, 60 percent of Arizona's 3,500 annual wildfires are human-caused.

The past few years have seen this trend decrease, and fire officials hope human-caused fire numbers continue to decline.

The following is a brief summary of campfire and smoking restrictions. For a complete discussion of each agency's restrictions, go to http://gacc.nifc.gov/swcc/ and click on the Arizona fire restrictions button in the upper left corner.

Bureau of Land Management Administered Lands -- Lands managed by the Phoenix District Office as well as those managed by the Yuma and Lake Havasu offices of the Colorado River District will implement campfire and smoking restrictions on Wednesday, May 14.

National Forest Lands -- The Tonto NF implemented restrictions on May 8. The Prescott NF will implement campfire and smoking restrictions on Wednesday, May 14.

US Fish and Wildlife Service -- Year-round fire restrictions are in effect along the Colorado River within the Imperial, Cibola, Bill Williams River, Buenos Aires and Havasu National Wildlife Refuges.

National Park Service --National Parks and Monuments are managed year-round with different campfire restrictions than other Federal lands. Check locally for compliance requirements.

Tribal Lands/BIA -- Hopi Tribal lands remain under year-round restrictions and Navajo Reservation lands within Arizona were placed under restrictions beginning May 1.

State of Arizona -- Lands managed by the Arizona Forestry Division within Gila, La Paz, Maricopa, Yavapai and Yuma counties will also have restrictions beginning on May 14.

Private Lands -- Fire and/or smoking restrictions could be in effect on some private lands within Arizona as well as within your community's city limits.

Also, fire districts or county officials may have already implemented restrictions. If you are unsure whether you can weld, use power equipment, or are allowed a backyard fire, contact your local fire department, fire district or county office.

During an active fire and during fire rehabilitation, closures may be in effect for portions of the fire area or for trails and roads near any wildfire.

Also, individual units may implement restriction changes at any time.

It is impossible to list all fire restrictions, so please call ahead to the local office where you plan on visiting or working to get the most up-to-date information, or visit their Web site to see the latest maps.

Fire restrictions and closure information can also be found on Web sites www.azfireinfo.com and http://gacc.nifc.gov/swcc/ or by calling toll-free 1-877-864-6985.

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