PHOENIX (July 24, 2011) – All campfire, smoking, and target shooting restrictions affecting the Tonto National Forest are being lifted, effective 8 a.m., Wednesday, July 25.
The fire restrictions, which covered the entire forest, are no longer needed because fire danger has been reduced by increased moisture and humidity from the annual monsoon weather. These conditions prompted officials to lift the forest fire restrictions which have been in place since May 15.
“Although campfires and cooking fires will now be allowed throughout the forest, we ask visitors to remain cautious and properly extinguish their fires. Campfires have to be cold enough to touch before they are left,” said Acting Fire Staff Helen Graham. “Campfires should be put out by drowning with water and stirring the ashes with first a shovel, then bare hands, to ensure the fire is cold -- and dead out.”
“The use of tracer bullets and incendiary ammo is banned on all national forests at all times,” concluded Graham, “whether we are in fire restrictions or not. We are concerned because an increasing number of fire starts on our forest are attributed to target or recreational shooting. ”
Acting Forest Supervisor Clay Templin acknowledged the cooperation of the visiting public during the period of fire restrictions which began two months ago.
“We appreciate the public’s support during these fire restrictions,” Templin said. “We thank everyone for their patience and understanding while access and activities on the Tonto were restricted during this wildfire season. We appreciate our visitors’ patience and support of the restrictions.”
For more information regarding forest recreation sites and fire restrictions, please contact the Tonto National Forest at (602) 225-5200, or check online at www.fs.usda.gov/tonto