Forest Service officials issued more than 300 warnings along with multiple citations to people visiting the Tonto National Forest April 20-22 who did not comply with Stage II fire restrictions.
Illegal target shooting accounted for the majority of violations, followed by campfires and use of charcoal in food preparation.
The Tonto National Forest implemented Stage II fire restrictions April 18, 2018, due to drought conditions, rising temperatures and increasing fire danger. Officials emphasize that restrictions are in place to provide for the public’s health and safety and also to protect National Forest System lands, resources and facilities under current conditions.
The following fire-causing activities are prohibited across the entire Tonto National Forest during Stage II fire restrictions:
- No fires, campfires, charcoal, coal, and wood stoves
- No smoking (except within an enclosed vehicle or building)
- No using an explosive
- No possessing, discharging, or using any type of firework by pyrotechnic device. Fireworks are always prohibited on national forests
- No operating a chainsaw or any other equipment powered by an internal combustion engine from the hours of 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. (except 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)
- No welding or operating an acetylene or other torch with open flame
- No operating or using any internal or external combustion engine without a spark arresting device properly installed, maintained, and in effective working order (this does not include motor vehicles. This is aimed at things such as landscaping tools)
- No discharging firearms, air rifles, or gas guns (except while engaged in a lawful hunt pursuant to state, federal or tribal laws and regulations)
- No parking motor vehicles over vegetation
Violation of these prohibitions is punishable by a fine of up to $5,000 for individuals and $10,000 for organizations, imprisonment for up to six months, or both.
For more information regarding fire restrictions on the Tonto National Forest, check online at www.fs.usda.gov/tonto.
For general information on fire activity and restrictions in Arizona call toll free 877-864-6985, or visit the https://firerestrictions.us/az/.