A decision was made to keep the Stage 1 Fire Restrictions in place for the Tonto National Forest “due insufficient rain and continued dry fuel conditions.” They were to end on Oct. 31st., but will now expire at the end of this year, “or until rescinded, whichever occurs first.” This action being taken “is to reduce the risk of human-caused wildfires during periods of high fire danger and elevated fire weather conditions.” Further details are below:
“Fire officials use several criteria to determine when to modify fire restrictions, including current and predicted weather, fire danger, fuel moistures, fire activity and available firefighting resources. Campfires and charcoal fires in developed campgrounds and picnic areas, are allowed but only in Forest Service rings and BBQs. Open fires in dispersed recreation areas remain prohibited. Target shooting remains prohibited as well.
“While some areas received moisture recently, unfortunately, it was not enough to make a difference,” said Acting Deputy Forest Supervisor Michael Martinez. “Drought conditions on the forest range from exceptional to extreme, with no rain forecasted in the near future. Extraordinarily dry weather conditions have kept us in very high to extreme fire danger. Under these circumstances we had no choice but to extend the restrictions.”
These extended fire restrictions are also in conjunction with adjoining land management agencies experiencing the same conditions, including the Prescott, Coconino, and Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests as well as Bureau of Land Management Phoenix District.
Stage 1 Fire Restrictions are as follows:
Pursuant to 16 U.S.C. § 551 and 36 C.F.R. § 261.50(a) and (b), the following acts are prohibited on all National Forest System lands described in this Order (the “Restricted Area”) and as depicted on the attached map, hereby incorporated into this Order as Exhibit A, within the Tonto National Forest in Maricopa, Gila, Yavapai, and Pinal Counties, Arizona.
- Igniting, building, maintaining, attending, or using a fire, campfire, or stove fire, including charcoal and briquettes, outside a fire structure that is provided by the Forest Service within a designated area. 36 C.F.R. § 261.52(a).
- Smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed recreation site, or while stopped in an area at least three (3) feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of any flammable material. 36 C.F.R. § 261.52(d).
- Discharging a firearm, air rifle, or gas gun. 36 C.F.R. § 261.58(m).
Recreational target shooting remains prohibited at this time; 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.
Campfires, and charcoal BBQs must be completely extinguished after use. Abandoned campfires continue to be a major cause of wildfires. Always keep enough water on hand, and a tool to drown and stir fires. If it is too hot to touch, it is too hot to leave.
Violators of the above restrictions are subject to fines and/or imprisonment. For more information on Tonto National Forest Restrictions, call the following district ranger stations for more information: Cave Creek Ranger District (480) 595-3300; Globe Ranger District (928) 402-6200; Mesa Ranger District (480) 610-3300; Payson Ranger District (928) 474-7900; and Tonto Basin Ranger District (602) 225-5395.”