Campers flock to Mt. Lemmon campgrounds despite fire restrictions

Campers flock to Mt. Lemmon campgrounds despite fire restrictions
(Source: Tucson News Now)
(Source: Tucson News Now)

MT. LEMMON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Mount Lemmon and the Coronado Nation Forest is under stage 2 fire restrictions, but camp sites are filling up along Catalina Highway.

The restrictions mean no camp fires, smoking, or open flames of any kind. The Forest Service wants to remind visitors that fireworks are never allowed on the mountain or on any National Forest land.

"It doesn't bother me not having a fire, nope," says Jason Flores, who spent Friday at Rose Canyon Lake fishing with his son and family from Indiana. "It's just really nice to be able to get away from the heat. It's so dang hot, it's just a blessing to be able to get away, be with the family and catch a few fish.

"We weren't planning on making a fire anyway" says Jessica Johnson, who is staying at a campground near Pinnacles for the weekend. "We came up here for the cool weather, hiking, and time with the family."

More from the National Forest Service: 
July 4 recreation opportunities on Coronado National Forest
Visitors reminded of Stage 2 fire restrictions, caution around wildlife and thunderstorms
District offices of the Coronado National Forest and the Forest Supervisor's office will be closed for the July 4 holiday on Wednesday. The Sabino Canyon Visitor Center will remain open. Business at the offices will resume July 5 during normal operating hours.
Forest officials expect large numbers of visitors to the Forest's most popular campgrounds and picnic areas over the holiday and adjoining weekends.  Although some rain has fallen in isolated areas of the Forest, most areas are dry. Campfires and smoking are prohibited (see below).  The following are tips for safe and enjoyable outings.
Monsoons.  With summer monsoons come thunderstorms, which can be isolated in nature and may materialize quickly. Recreationists are advised to check weather forecasts and seek shelter in buildings or vehicles during storms (avoid sheltering under trees).  During and after storms, visitors should avoid low-lying areas, washes and stream channels, which can become flooded without warning.
Campfires, Smoking and Fireworks.  Coronado National Forest is under Stage 2 fire restrictions. Until rescinded, the following are prohibited: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.
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.
Fireworks are prohibited year-round on all National Forest lands.
Camping.  Campers are encouraged to be good neighbors and recognize "quiet time" at 10:00 p.m.; to avoid low spots and pitch tents in areas that are well-drained; to bring drinking water, as not all areas supply potable water; to remove trash, and not leave litter behind.
Wildlife.  The Coronado is home to many wildlife species.  Visitors should be "bear aware" and maintain clean campsites.  Store food away from sleeping areas, and "bear-proof" food and garbage by using metal storage boxes in recreation sites.  In dispersed areas stow food and garbage out of sight and smell-range of bears.  Cookware and dishes should be washed and stored promptly after meals.  Clothing with food or cooking odors, as well as odorous items such as toothpaste and lotions should not be taken into sleeping areas.  Wildlife should not be fed intentionally or accidentally. For their safety, pets should be leashed at all times.  Avoid contact with animals. "Keep wildlife wild."
International Boundary Travel Caution.  Forest visitors traveling in remote areas of the Coronado National Forest in the vicinity of the International Border with Mexico are advised to remain alert to their surroundings as illegal smuggling activity is known to occur in some areas.  Visitors are advised not to attempt to intercede should they witness illegal activity, but to contact the nearest law enforcement agency with a location, descriptions of persons, vehicles, date/time and other pertinent information.          
Dispersed Use/Off-Highway Vehicles.  Picnicking and camping outside of developed recreation areas on the Forest is allowed unless otherwise posted.  Visitors must provide their own water and pack garbage out. Off-road/off-trail motorized travel is prohibited. 
For Ranger District And Recreation Area Information: Affected recreation sites may be closed due to current or recent wildfires. Know before you go.
Douglas Ranger District (Chiricahua Mountains, Dragoon Mountains) - (520) 364-3468.
Nogales Ranger District (Santa Rita Mountains, Madera Canyon; Atascosa Mountains; Tumacacori Mountains) - (520) 281-2296.
Safford Ranger District (Mt. Graham) - (928) 428-4150.
Sierra Vista Ranger District (Huachuca Mountains, Miller Peak Wilderness) - (520) 378-0311.
Santa Catalina Ranger District (Mt. Lemmon, Sabino Canyon) - (520) 749-8700.

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