County parks set May 27 as start date for annual fire ban

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By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas

PHOENIX -- The Maricopa County Parks and Recreation Department will begin its annual fire ban on Tuesday, May 27.

"To provide park visitors the opportunity to enjoy campfires over Memorial Day weekend, the department is delaying the implementation of the annual fire ban as long as possible. However, for the safety of park visitors and park resources, the fire ban will be put in place immediately after the holiday," said Maricopa County Parks and Recreation Director R.J. Cardin.

A fire ban is initiated to limit the possibility of starting a brush fire, which could cause serious damage to the parks. The fire ban includes the use of campfires, fire pits and charcoal grills; however, it is still acceptable to use gas/propane grills in designated areas such as the ramada areas, semi-developed and developed camping sites, and along the shoreline at Lake Pleasant Regional Park. Violation of this park rule, Rule 113, may result in a citation.

"Over the past couple of weeks, the National Weather Service has issued several red flag warnings across central Arizona to alert land management agencies that conditions are ideal for wildfire ignition. If we continue to experience high winds, the park supervisors have been authorized to issue a park specific temporary fire ban to ensure public safety and protect the park resources. When temporary fire bans are issued, information will be posted under the "alert tab" of the parks website page and park visitors will be notified as they enter the park," Cardin added.

Smoking in the parks is still permissible, but all park users are strongly encouraged to be responsible in their use and ensure that all cigarettes are properly extinguished and placed in trash receptacles. A date to lift the fire ban has not been identified and will be determined by the amount of rain Maricopa County receives during the monsoon season.

The following Maricopa County parks are affected by the fire ban: Lake Pleasant Regional Park, White Tank Mountain Regional Park, Adobe Dam Regional Park, Buckeye Hills Regional Park, Estrella Mountain Regional Park (excludes turf area), San Tan Mountain Regional Park, Usery Mountain Regional Park, McDowell Mountain Regional Park, Cave Creek Regional Park, and Spur Cross Ranch Conservation Area.

If you have any questions regarding the fire ban, call the Maricopa County Parks and Recreation Department at (602) 506-2930, or visit