Annual fire ban begins in Maricopa County

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The annual fire ban is now in effect in Maricopa County parks. (SOURCE: 3TV/CBS5) The annual fire ban is now in effect in Maricopa County parks. (SOURCE: 3TV/CBS5)
MARICOPA COUNTY, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

The Maricopa County Parks and Recreation Department initiated its annual fire ban on Monday. 

Officials say they are starting the ban earlier this year because of recent weather conditions in the area. 

"We typically try to wait until after Memorial Day weekend to implement our fire ban," said R.J. Cardin, Maricopa County Parks and Recreation Director.

"However, this winter the parks received an abundance of rain which produced a super bloom of wildflowers, thick brush, and ground coverage. This vegetation has now dried out, and conditions are ideal for wildfire ignition as seen by the Cactus Fire which occurred in close proximity to Usery Mountain Regional Park," he said.

Cardin added that to ensure park visitor and park resource safety, they believed the decision to implement the ban sooner rather than later was the responsible thing to do.

Park officials say the 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.

Officials added it is still acceptable to use gas or 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.

Anyone who violates the ban may get a citation. 

Park officials say that smoking in the parks is still permissible, but they encourage all visitors to be responsible in their use and ensure that all cigarettes are properly extinguished and placed in trash receptacles.

At this time, a date to lift the fire ban has not been identified.

Park officials say it will be determined by the amount of rain Maricopa County receives during the monsoon season. 

The county parks affected by the fire ban include Adobe Dam Regional Park, Cave Creek Regional Park, Estrella Mountain Regional Park (excludes turf area), and McDowell Mountain Regional Park. To see the entire list, click here. 

For more information on the fire ban, you can contact the Maricopa County Parks and Recreation Department at (602) 506-2930, or visit maricopacountyparks.net

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