Dry conditions trigger fire restrictions in southeastern Arizona

Published: Apr. 23, 2018 at 9:07 PM MST|Updated: May. 7, 2018 at 5:07 PM MST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Effective Tuesday, May 1, and until rescinded, the following will implement campfire and smoking restrictions in southeastern Arizona:

  • Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management
  • Bureau of Land Management Gila District
  • all districts of the Coronado National Forest
  • Saguaro National Park
  • Casa Grande Ruins National Monument
  • Coronado National Memorial
  • Chiricahua National Monument
  • Fort Bowie National Historic Site
  • Tumacácori National Historical Park
  • Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument
  • San Bernardino, Leslie Canyon and Buenos Aries National Wildlife Refuges

Restrictions apply to the following state-owned and state-managed lands including:

  • All State Trust lands outside incorporated municipalities.
  • All Game and Fish Commission Wildlife areas and department properties outside incorporated municipalities.
  • All State Parks outside incorporated municipalities – State Parks will remain open with campfires allowed in developed campgrounds.
  • All Department of Transportation highway, right-of-way property outside incorporated municipalities, not owned by federal land management agencies.
Beginning May 1, and until rescinded, the following are prohibited:
  • Building, maintaining, attending, or using a fire, campfire, charcoal, coal, or wood stove fire, including within a developed recreation site, or improved site.
  • Using an explosive.
  • Smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle or building. (Smoking is prohibited in all federal buildings.)
  • Operating or using any equipment powered by an internal combustion engine, except motor vehicles.
  • Welding, or operating acetylene or other torch with open flame.
  • Discharging a firearm, air rifle or gas gun, except while engaged in a lawful hunt pursuant to state, federal, or tribal law, and regulations.
  • Possessing or operating motor vehicles off National Forest System roads, including but not limited to cars, trucks, SUVs, motorcycles, and ATVs, except for when parking in an area devoid of vegetation within 10 feet of the roadway, and except for parking overnight in Forest Service developed campground and trailheads.
Fireworks are always prohibited year-round on federal lands.

Violation of restrictions on federal lands is punishable as a Class B misdemeanor, which includes a fine of not more than $5,000 for an individual and up to $10,000 for organizations and possible imprisonment for not more than six (6) months or both. Violators may also be held personally responsible for reimbursement of fire suppression costs. Arizona and New Mexico state laws carry similar penalties.

Pressurized liquid or gas stoves, lanterns and heaters possessing shut-off devices are allowed. When using a portable stove, make sure the area is clear of grasses and other fine fuels. Prevent stoves from tipping and starting a fire.

Cigarettes should never be thrown out the window of a vehicle. Instead, ashtrays should be used in order to prevent wildfires.

Never park a vehicle over dead grass; the catalytic converter can ignite the vegetation.

Fire conditions as well as localized closures and restrictions are subject to change.  Because tribal, federal, state, and local mandates are different, they may have some differences in their restriction notices.

Exemptions include:
  • Persons with a written permit that specifically authorizes the otherwise prohibited act. This process can be utilized in cases where public works and public utility emergency repairs are necessary.
  • Industrial operations where specific operations and exemptions are identified and mitigation measures are implemented as outline in an agency plan.
  • Persons using a device fueled by liquid petroleum or LPG fuels that can be turned on and off is permitted. Such devices can only be used in an area that is barren or clear of all overhead and surrounding flammable materials within three feet of the device.
  • Operating generators with an approved spark arresting device within an enclosed vehicle or building, or in an area that is barren or cleared of all overhead and surrounding flammable materials with three feet of the generator.
  • Operating motorized vehicles on designated roads and you must park in an area devoid of vegetation within 10 feet of the roadway.
  • Persons conducting activities in those designated areas where the activity is specifically authorized by written posted notice.
  • Any federal, state or local law enforcement officer, or member of an organized rescue or firefighting organization, or other authorized personnel in the performance of an official duty.
  • All land within a city boundary is exempted unless otherwise stated in a city ordinance.
  • Discharging of firearms is allowed on agency designated shooting ranges.

All exemptions to these restrictions must be approved by the State Forester.

If local authorities have imposed stronger restrictions then those listed above, than the local restrictions shall apply.

These restrictions apply to all permit and lease holders and other authorized users of state-managed lands. These restrictions do not apply to private lands under ARS § 37-1303.

Restrictions for the Southern Arizona counties are effective at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, May 1, and will continue until rescinded.

For a more detailed explanation concerning agency restrictions and fire information in general, please contact the nearest land management agency office where you plan to work or play, visit http://wildlandfire.az.gov or call the toll-free Southwest Fire Restrictions Hotline at 1-877-864-6985.

Copyright 2018 Tucson News Now. All rights reserved.