Due to dry conditions, 2020 has become a unique, extended fire year as the area received little moisture over the typically wet monsoon season. Throughout the lengthy fire season, firefighters have not only assisted on fires in Australia and neighboring states, they have battled blazes here at home including numerous fires on the Arizona Strip from the 38K acre Basin Fire in May, and the 71K acre Mangum Fire in June, to the 11K acre Pine Hollow Fire in August. These extended dry conditions have urged fire managers to remind the public that Stage 2 fire restrictions on public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Arizona Strip District are still in effect.
Fire restrictions are a tool many agencies use to restrict activities known to be the most common causes of wildfires. Preventing wildfires keeps communities and firefighters safe, reducing their risk and exposure to injury, smoke, and disease.
These unprecedented conditions have also impacted public lands users who routinely obtain fuel wood this time of year to stock their winter supply to heat their homes and keep their families well. On October 7, 2020, fire managers modified the fire prevention order to allow for use of chainsaws—but only when used with a spark arrester. “As public land managers our goal in modifying the fire prevention order is to be responsive to the needs of the public,” said Arizona Strip District Manager Mike Herder. “Many members of our local communities obtain permits this time of year to collect winter fuelwood supplies-one of many natural resources BLM manages through balanced use and conservation efforts,” Herder said. “Allowing the exemption of chainsaws, while requiring that they be operated with a spark arrester, minimizes risks and enhances safe use of the chainsaw with the current dry conditions,” he said.
The public plays a valuable role in preventing wildfires. As fire restrictions vary by agency and jurisdiction, fire managers encourage the public to contact local land or fire management agencies or fire departments for more information. To learn more about current fire restrictions and current fire situations go to: https://wildlandfire.az.gov . Read the full fire prevention order here: https://www.blm.gov/node/12153
The fire prevention order applies to all lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management in Mohave and Coconino Counties of Arizona as well as the Arizona Strip Field Office, Vermilion Cliffs and Grand Canyon Parashant National Monuments.
Once conditions improve, and the risk of wildfires has been reduced, fire restrictions will be rescinded, and all allowable activities will be permitted to continue.
A violation of posted restrictions could result in citations, fines, jail time or reimbursement of the cost to put out the fire and rehabilitate the fire area.
Always keep outdoor fire safety in mind. Many wildfires start from vehicle and equipment use as well as campfires, or debris burning on private property. Follow all fire restrictions. Use spark arresters on small equipment. Secure tow chains and check the condition of tires and brakes. Never pull your vehicle off the road into dry vegetation.