With the cooler temperatures and some rain that was forecasted this past week, a respite from fire danger most likely will not make a difference. Mostly sunny skies and warmer daytime temperatures that reach into the upper 60s on Saturday will return a dry outlook and continued fire danger.
Officials with the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests will implement fire restrictions on Friday, May 20. Due to increasing fire danger, these restrictions are deemed necessary to prevent human-caused wildfires and to protect public health and safety.
The restrictions prohibit fires, campfires, charcoal, coal or wood stoves outside of developed campgrounds and limit smoking to within enclosed vehicles or buildings or in developed campgrounds.
Pressurized liquid or gas stoves, lanterns, and heaters meeting safety specifications will continue to be allowed. The fire restrictions will remain in place until the forest receives significant precipitation.
Violation of the prohibitions is punishable by a fine of not more than $5,000, imprisonment for not more than six months, or both. Fireworks are always prohibited on national forest land. As well, as of May 16, the Navajo County Board of Supervisors have enacted the Navajo County Outdoor Fire Ordinance 01-06, Section Seven (7) NO OPEN OUTDOOR FIRES WILL BE ALLOWED for the unincorporated areas in and around Pinetop-Lakeside, Show Low, Linden, Pinedale, Claysprings, Heber-Overgaard, Chevelon Retreat, Chevelon Acres, White Mountain Lake and Snowflake-Taylor.
In addition, it will be unlawful to burn, start, ignite, build, attend, have, possess, maintain or use flammable or combustible materials.
District IV Supervisor David Tenney was quick to express his concern about the current conditions, “I wish that there were some other alternative at this point, but we cannot afford even one preventable situation.
“We welcome and encourage our residents and summer visitors to use and enjoy what the White Mountains have to offer, but we ask that they all work to keep this situation from becoming something far worse than a threat.”
The Navajo County Outdoor Fire Ordinance does not apply to tribal lands.
A temporary closure this week occurred at Black Canyon Lake and the surrounding area May 17 through May 18 on the Black Mesa Ranger District of the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests. The height of Black Canyon Lake Dam is being increased, and blasting near the dam was required to progress on the project. Completion of work on the dam is ongoing.
The Rim Community Library has started registration of their summer reading program, “One World, Many Stories.” The program starts at 10 a.m., Wednesday, June 1 and registration can be accomplished at the Rim Community Library located at State Highway 260 and Mustang Avenue in Heber.