The Tonto National Forest will continue Stage 1 fire restrictions because of extreme fire danger across the forest.

The extreme fire danger is because of insufficient monsoonal moisture this season, high temperatures and continued dry fuel conditions.

Stage 1 fire restrictions would have expired on Sept. 30, but were extended through Oct. 31, or until rescinded, whichever occurs first. These restrictions reduce the risk of human-caused wildfires during periods of high fire danger and elevated fire weather conditions.

Campfires and charcoal fires in developed campgrounds and picnic areas are allowed but only in Forest Service rings and barbecues. Open fires in dispersed recreation areas remain prohibited.

“We appreciate the public’s cooperation during this unprecedented season of extreme fire danger,” said Acting Forest Supervisor Tom Torres. “The Tonto National Forest is still experiencing an active wildfire season. Firefighters are currently engaged in fire suppression operations on the Sears Fire and crews continue to respond to new starts on the forest.”

Stage 1 fire restrictions prohibit:

1. Igniting, building, maintaining, attending, or using a fire, campfire, or stove fire, including charcoal and briquettes.

2. Smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed recreation site, or while stopped in an area at least three feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of any flammable material.

3. Discharging a firearm, air rifle, or gas gun.

Recreational target shooting remains prohibited; however, legal hunting activities are permitted in areas not affected by a closure order. Under Stage 1 fire restrictions, cooking devices that are fueled by liquid petroleum or LPG fuel, that can be turned off immediately with no remaining burning material, may be used in safe areas devoid of vegetation.

Abandoned campfires continue to be a major cause of wildfires.

Violators of the above restrictions are subject to fines and/or imprisonment. For more information, call the Payson Ranger District at 928-474-7900.

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