Fireworks spark wildfire northeast of Payson

Posted: Updated:
The Department of Forestry and Fire Management has unveiled a new billboard campaign to reinforce fire safety across the state. (Source: Department of Forestry and Fire Management) The Department of Forestry and Fire Management has unveiled a new billboard campaign to reinforce fire safety across the state. (Source: Department of Forestry and Fire Management)
(Source: Forest Service: Tonto National Forest) (Source: Forest Service: Tonto National Forest)
(Source: Forest Service: Tonto National Forest) (Source: Forest Service: Tonto National Forest)
PAYSON, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

Fireworks sparked a wildfire about 13 miles northeast of Payson Friday.

At last check, the Knoll Fire is about 60 acres and is burning about 1 mile north of Meads Ranch in the Robert’s Mesa area with 40 percent containment.

[SPECIAL SECTION: Arizona wildfires]

“Nearly 45 firefighters are responding or on-scene to fight this fire,” U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman Carrie Templin said in a media alert. “Additional resources, including an air tanker and helicopter, have been ordered.”

“This new fire comes at the end of Wildfire Awareness Week and demonstrates why the wildfire community continues to stress that Arizona is in a drought and it only takes one spark to start a wildfire,” she continued.

[READ MORE: State conducting marketing campaign to push fire prevention]

[AND THIS:  New billboards spread message about fire danger]

As part of Wildfire Awareness Week, the Department of Forestry and Fire Management unveiled a new billboard campaign to reinforce fire safety across the state.

The billboard messaging is simple: ‘Put out your Campfires’ and ‘One Spark is all it Takes.’ Two signs are up now, one in Chino Valley and the other along Interstate 10 outside of Eloy.

A third billboard will be going up near Payson right before the 4th of July weekend. The billboards will remain up through fire season.

This year’s unusually warm and dry winter is creating concern the 2018 wildfire season may start even earlier and be more active throughout the state.

[RELATED: Gov. Ducey: Warm winter means challenging wildfire season ahead]

"We are concerned about this fire season," said State Forester Jeff Whitney last month. "We all have a shared responsibility. We encourage people to clean up their yards, do what you can in your neighborhoods, and have conversations."

[RELATED: Dry winter sparks governor's wildfire season concerns]

Part of that responsibility is obeying the law. Fireworks are always illegal on state and federal land. That includes things that might be allowed in cities during certain times of the year.

It also is illegal to fly drones near wildfires. "Recreational drones near wildfires are not safe," explains a Facebook post by the Southwest Area Incident Management Team 1. "They put firefighters, residents [and] homes at risk."

Last year, more than 2,000 wildfires burned 400,000-plus acres across Arizona. Roughly, 100,000 more acres burned in 2017 than the previous year.
Of those 2,262 fires, a majority of those were human-caused.


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