Ban on open fires in Phoenix Mountain, desert preserves starts Monday

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By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas

PHOENIX – A ban on open fires and smoking in Phoenix mountain and desert preserves goes into effect on Monday.

According to the Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department, the ban applies to Camelback Mountain; Papago Park; all areas of the Phoenix Mountains; South Mountain Park/Preserve; North Mountain and surrounding areas; the Sonoran Preserve; and the Deem Hills area. The fire ban does NOT apply to traditional city parks.

Spokesman David Urbinato said smoking and charcoal fires are included in the ban due to the extreme fire danger that the combination of low humidity, increasing temperatures and frequent high winds creates each spring.

For those using the preserves, the fire ban stipulates the following:

• Open, wood and charcoal fires are prohibited in any part of the Phoenix mountain preserves.

• Smoking outside of enclosed vehicles will continue to be prohibited.

• Propane or gas grills may be used but only in established picnic areas.

Urbinato said motorists traveling through or near Phoenix desert preserves should exercise extreme care with smoking materials, disposing of them only in their vehicles' ashtrays.

To protect their homes, residents whose property borders the preserves may remove dry shrubs, brush and grasses and trim dead branches from trees within the 10-foot strip of preserve bordering their property. By creating this 10-foot "buffer zone," residents can help to protect their homes from brush fires in the adjacent preserve