The Sawmill Fire in southern Arizona started early for a typical wildfire season, and since then, more than 100,000 acres have burned on both state and federal lands in that part of the state.
The increasingly hot temperatures coupled with hazardous fuel conditions means the Department of Forestry and Fire Management will now implement Stage II Fire Restrictions on state-owned and state-managed lands in six counties.
Beginning at 0800 on Monday, June 26th, Stage II restrictions will go into effect within Cochise, Greenlee, Graham, Pima, Pinal, and Santa Cruz counties.
“We predicted an active wildfire season in southern Arizona and unfortunately that prediction deemed true. The high fire activity in Southern Arizona is creating fire resources to be spread thin, and not only in our state, but now in New Mexico, as fire activity picks up there. We need to be proactive and that means enforcing stricter rules,” said State Forester Jeff Whitney.
Restrictions apply to the following state-owned and state-managed lands within the above-mentioned counties including:
• All State Trust lands outside incorporated municipalities.
• All Game and Fish Commission Wildlife areas and department properties outside incorporated municipalities.
• All State Parks outside incorporated municipalities – State Parks will remain open with campfires allowed in developed campgrounds.
• All Department of Transportation highway, right-of-way property outside incorporated municipalities, not owned by federal land management agencies.
• No campfires. Building, maintaining, attending, or using a fire, campfire, charcoal, coal fire, or wood stove, including in developed campgrounds or improved sites is prohibited.
• Smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle or building.
• No chainsaw use from 9am – 8pm.
• Discharging a firearm, air rifle or gun gas, unless while engaged in a lawful hunt pursuant to state, federal, or tribal laws and regulations, is prohibited.
• Fireworks or another incendiary device are prohibited.
• Mechanical and industrial prohibitions include, operating any internal combustion engine, welding or operating acetylene or other torch with an open flame, and using an explosive.
• Persons with a written permit that specifically authorizes the otherwise prohibited act. This process can be utilized in cases where public works and public utility emergency repairs are necessary.
• Industrial operations where specific operations and exemptions are identified and mitigation measures are implemented as outline in an agency plan.
• Persons using a device fueled by liquid petroleum or LPG fuels that can be turned on and off is permitted. Such devices can only be used in an area that is barren or clear of all overhead and surrounding flammable materials within three feet of the device.
• 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 with three feet of the generator.
• Operating motorized vehicles on designated roads and you must park in an area devoid of vegetation within 10 feet of the roadway.
• Persons conducting activities in those designated areas where the activity is specifically authorized by written posted notice.
• Any federal, state or local law enforcement officer, or member of an organized rescue or firefighting organization, or other authorized personnel in the performance of an official duty.
• All land within a city boundary is exempted unless otherwise stated in a city ordinance.
• Discharging of firearms is allowed on agency designated shooting ranges.
All exemptions to these restrictions must be approved by the State Forester.
If local authorities have imposed stronger restrictions then those listed above, than the local restrictions shall apply.
These restrictions apply to all permit and lease holders and other authorized users of state-managed lands. These restrictions do not apply to private lands under ARS § 37-1303.
Restrictions are effective at 0800 on Monday, June 26th and will continue until rescinded.