Due to extremely high fire risk in the region, effective May 23, 2014 at 8:00 a.m. all unincorporated areas of Navajo County will be placed under Stage 2 fire restrictions regulating the use of fire and spark-igniting equipment or operations. Navajo County has been monitoring the weather and fuel conditions very closely with members of the White Mountain Fire Coordination Group, and based on the available information, this is the most advisable course of action at this time.
The recently revised Navajo County Outdoor Fire Ordinance Stage 2 Restrictions are effective in the unincorporated area of Navajo County, exclusive of areas under the jurisdiction of the federal government, the State of Arizona or a federally recognized American Indian tribe. Under Stage 2 restrictions, the following prohibitions and exemptions apply:
The following acts are prohibited until further notice:
1. Building maintaining, attending, or using a fire, campfire, charcoal, coal, or wood stove including fires in developed campgrounds or improved sites.
2. Smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle or building.
3. Outdoor Mechanical and Industrial Prohibitions
a. Operating any internal combustion engine in the course of mechanical or industrial operations that would produce open flames or sparks.
b. Welding, or operating acetylene or other torch with open flame.
c. Using an explosive.
4. Operating motorized vehicles off designated roads and trails.
1. Use of any and all fireworks.
2. Use of explosive targets.
3. Use of tracer round ammunition.
1. Persons with a written permit that specifically authorizes the otherwise prohibited act.
2. Industrial operations where specific operations and exemptions are identified and mitigation measures are implemented as outlined in an agency plan.
3. Persons operating internal combustion engines with spark arrestors such as lawnmowers and landscaping equipment in maintained landscaped space.
4. Welding, or operating acetylene or other torch with open flame in an enclosed or developed area designated for that purpose that is equipped with appropriate fire protection.
5. Persons using a device fueled solely by liquid petroleum or LPG fuels that can be turned on and off. Such devices can only be used in an area that is barren or cleared of all overhead and surrounding flammable materials within 3 feet of the device.
6. Operating generators with an approved spark arresting device within an enclosed vehicle or building or in an area that is barren or cleared of all overhead and surrounding flammable materials within three feet of the generator.
7. Operating motorized vehicles on designated roads and trails so long as you park in an area devoid of vegetation within 10 feet of the roadway.
8. Emergency repair of public utilities and railroads and mitigation measures are implemented as outlined in an agency plan.
9. Persons conducting activities in those designated areas where the activity is specifically authorized by written posted notice.
10. Any Federal, State, or local officer, or member of an organized rescue or firefighting force in the performance of an official duty.
11. All land within a city boundary is exempted unless otherwise stated by city ordinance.
An exemption does not absolve an individual or organization from liability or responsibility for any fire started by the exempted activity.
District V Supervisor Dawnafe Whitesinger agreed with the decision to enter the Stage 2 restrictions, “Fire management teams continue to tell us that conditions are as bad as or worse than those of 2002 when the Rodeo-Chedeski wildfires devastated our communities. There are reports that motor vehicles which have pulled off the road into tall grasses have started fires within the last few days. We must respect the facts. It is dry. We all love a campfire under the stars, but until the monsoon rains arrive in a few weeks, we must all be willing to sacrifice a few luxuries to avoid a preventable fire event.”
Supervisor David Tenney of Navajo County District IV agreed with his colleague, “The forests of our region are a tremendous asset to our communities, and no one loves to spend time out in the woods more than me, but this decision is just simply the right one to make given all the circumstances that exist. We need people to obey the law. We still want our visitors and residents to enjoy every other part of their experience in our region, but we just can’t let anything get away from us this year. Even one preventable fire event is one too many in the current conditions we are under, and I am glad that Navajo County Sheriff KC Clark and other law enforcement officials are operating under a zero tolerance policy for unlawful fire use.”
To review the Navajo County Outdoor Fire Ordinance in detail, or to review restrictions for other area agencies, visit www.311info.net. To receive emergency alerts via text from the Northeastern Public Information System (311), text: 40404, and write “follow Az311Info” in the message. (Standard text messaging rates may apply.) Dial 911 to report smoke or wildfires.