Fire restrictions begin on Tonto and Prescott National Forests

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Fire restrictions are set to go into effect in Tonto and Prescott National Forests (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Fire restrictions are set to go into effect in Tonto and Prescott National Forests (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Fire restrictions are set to go into effect in Tonto and Prescott National Forests (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Fire restrictions are set to go into effect in Tonto and Prescott National Forests (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(3TV/CBS 5) -

Drought conditions, warm temperatures and increasing fire danger have prompted the Tonto and Prescott National Forests to implement fire restrictions on each respective forest.

The restrictions will begin in Tonto at 8:00 a.m. on Wednesday, April 18 and in Prescott at 8:00 a.m. on April 20. Fire-causing activities will be prohibited across the entire forest, as well as building, maintaining, attending or using a fire, campfire or charcoal-burning device. In addition, smoking is also prohibited except within an enclosed vehicle or building, or developed recreation site.

Operating a chainsaw or any other equipment powered by an internal combustion engine is prohibited between 9 am to 8 p.m. The discharging of firearms, air rifles or gas guns, except when engaged in a legal hunt in accordance with state, federal or tribal laws and regulations. The use of fireworks, explosives or a pyrotechnic device is always prohibited.

[RELATED: Fire restrictions in effect for central Arizona starting June 1]

“There has been no appreciable amount of precipitation since the end of last summer’s monsoons and the little bit of rain and snow we received in January and February did nothing to relieve the situation.  Much of the State of Arizona is in extreme drought with a forecast of below normal precipitation and above normal temps through the end of May. Our fire danger indicators are quickly moving toward significant levels. This means that wildfires will easily ignite and quickly become fires that may be difficult to control,” said Pete Gordon, Fuels, Fire and Aviation Staff Officer for the Prescott National Forest.

The use of petroleum-fueled stoves, lanterns, and heating devices are allowed if they are equipped with a switch or attached manual device that allows the fire to be extinguished immediately. Operating a motorized vehicle on Forest Service roads is allowed as long as you park in an area devoid of all vegetation.

“We are going into restrictions earlier than normal due to the record dry winter and spring we’ve had this year. Fuel moisture and humidity levels have been decreasing steadily across the forest and the fire danger is high,” said Tonto National Forest Fire Staff Officer Don Nunley. “These precautionary measures are intended to protect forest resources and enhance our visitors’ quality recreation experiences.” 

[RELATED: Fire restrictions to take effect in 3 Arizona forests]

Violation of these fire restrictions is punishable by a fine of up to $5,000 and imprisonment for up to six months.

For more information on fire activity and restrictions in Arizona call toll free at 877-864-6985, or visit https://firerestrictions.us/az/.

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