Summer's here and the time is right, for vacations, long weekends and day trips to our incredible National Forests. And as usual, our time in the forest again goes hand in hand with the driest conditions of the year. That means fire restrictions.
These fire restrictions are not suggestions, but the law. Often, they take away some of what we want when we camp, hike or fish. Too bad! There's nothing better than sitting around a campfire on a cool mountain night, but with conditions so dry, you're not going to do it unless you follow the rules. So here they are and if you have any questions, please check web sites or call district offices. None of us want a repeat of the Rodeo-Chediski, Dude Creek, Lone or any other scenery eating fire.
Right now, the Coronado National Forest east of Tucson is the only National Forest in the state without fire restrictions, but rangers there say it's still very dry and restrictions are right around the corner unless the summer rains come. Before you go check it out. (520)388-8300 or www.fs.fed.us/r3/coronado. The web sites are the same for all National Forests, all you do is add the one you want at the end, following the r3/. Very simple.
The Kaibab, Prescott, Tonto, Coconino, and Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests all have fire restrictions. So what does that mean?
Campfires, charcoal grill and stove fires are only allowed in developed recreation sites where grills and campfire rings are provided. That means they're prohibited everywhere else. No exceptions. This may change also, if the rains don't come.
Pressurized liquid or gas stoves, lanterns and heaters meeting safety specifications are allowed.
Here's a biggie and a tough one to follow for some. Smoking is prohibited except within enclosed vehicles, buildings or developed recreation sites WHERE the area is cleared of all flammable material.
Possessing, discharging or using any kind of firework or other pyrotechnic device is not allowed.
Each National Forest also has some special situations, such as on the Prescott, where campfires are not allowed at the designated dispersed sites within the Prescott Basin.
It's so easy to check on all these restrictions by simply hitting the web or making a quick call.
Nobody ever thinks they're going to be the ones to start a horrible fire, destroying the very forest they came to play in and enjoy. But it happens so fast and causes so much trouble. We've been so blessed to have escaped a tragic fire, in which entire towns are destroyed and people injured or killed. We have, however, lost firefighters who were trying to stop these monsters as they attack.
Please, have fun, enjoy our wonderful state and the treasures that invite all of us to escape into a magical world. But follow these fire restrictions to the letter. They don't last long, and once the rain comes, we can go back to the way we love to camp and hike.
Have a safe trip and pray for rain.
For fire restriction information on all public lands in Arizona and New Mexico, you can call 1-877-864-6985 and you'll be put directly into the main office of the place you want to visit. or you can call ....
Prescott National Forest www.fs.fed.us/r3/prescott/ 928-777-5799
Coronado National Forest www.fs.fed.us/r3/coronado/ 520-388-8300
Kaibab National Forest www.fs.fed.us/r3/kaibab/ 928-635-8200
Coconino National Forest www.fs.fed.us/r3/coconino 928-527-3600
Tonto National Forest www.fs.fed.us/r3/ 602-225-5200
If you're headed to one of our wonderful state parks, call 602-542-4174 or check their site...www.pr.state.az.us/