With the Fourth of July holiday weekend upon us, Arizona public land managers remind the public that fire restrictions are in place throughout the Rim Country.
Most types of fire or fire-causing activities are prohibited across the entire Tonto, Coconino, Kaibab and Prescott national forests.
Starting a fire, campfire or charcoal-burning device is restricted, as well as smoking outside of a cleared area, operating internal combustion power tools, using welding equipment or torches with open flames, operating combustion engines without spark-arresting devices or discharging firearms except in taking game in accordance with hunting laws.
Use of petroleum-fueled stoves, lanterns and heating devices is allowed, and some developed campgrounds are exempt from these restrictions.
Violation of these restrictions is punishable by a fine of up to $5,000 and imprisonment for up to six months.
“Because of ongoing drought and dry forest conditions, fire restrictions are needed to protect forest users, structures and natural resources from the increased potential for dangerous wildland fires,” said Tonto National Forest Fire Staff Officer Clay Templin. “Most areas of the Tonto National Forest remain available for recreation activity, including all the Salt River system lakes.”
Near Payson, campfires are allowed in fire grills and grates at the Houston Mesa Horse Camp, Ponderosa Campground, Sharp Creek Campground, Upper Tonto Creek Campground and Christopher Creek Campground.
“Each year, we try to be proactive and implement fire restrictions when necessary to curb the damage of human-caused fires,” said Dolores Garcia, for the Bureau of Land Management’s Arizona State Office.