Elevated fire danger conditions have led Tonto National Forest officials to implement Stage 2 Fire Restrictions on June 11 at 8 a.m., in conjunction with other federal and state land management agencies in Arizona.
Stage 2 Fire Restrictions include shooting restrictions in an effort to protect public and firefighter safety, as well as National Forest System lands and resources, during a period of Very High to Extreme wildfire danger.
During Stage II Fire Restrictions, the following is prohibited:
- Building, maintaining, attending, or using a fire, campfire, or stove fire, including use of charcoal or briquettes is prohibited on the Tonto National Forest
- Welding, or operating any acetylene or other torch with an open flame
- Smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed recreation site, or while stopped in an area at least 3 feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of any flammable material. Deposit butts and remains in an ashtray or inside a building; do not toss or discard on the ground
- Discharging a firearm, air rifle, or gas gun
The following acts are prohibited from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
- Operating internal combustion power tools, such as a chainsaw or other equipment, between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m.
Exemptions to Stage 2 Fire Restrictions include:
- Persons operating generators with an approved spark arresting device in an area that is barren or cleared of all overhead and surrounding flammable materials within 3 feet of the generator
- Persons using a device solely fueled by liquid petroleum gas (LPG) that can be turned on and off. Such devices are allowed in an area that is barren or cleared of all overhead and surrounding flammable materials within 3 feet of the device
- Any federal, state, or local officer, or member of an organized rescue or firefighting force, in the performance of official duty
- Persons with a written Forest Service authorization specifically exempting them from the effect of this Order
- Persons engaged in legal hunting activity pursuant to state, federal, or tribal laws and regulations are allowed to discharge a firearm while taking wildlife
Stage 2 Fire Restrictions will remain in effect until September 30, 2021, or until rescinded by Tonto officials.
Taiga Rohrer, Fire Management Officer for the Tonto, emphasizes the need for the public to be very careful while visiting the forest.
“The current Telegraph and Mescal Fires near Superior and Globe are painful reminders of how wildfires can spread very quickly, endangering the public as well as presenting substantial obstacles to firefighters in the implementation of wildfire suppression strategies,” Rohrer said.
“Given current drought conditions and extreme fire danger, it simply is too dangerous for people visiting the forest to shoot at targets, start a campfire, park on grass or even allow trailers to drag chains,” Rohrer continued. “These factors create an environment in which ignitions from human activities can occur at a much higher rate than normal and make control of any fires that start extremely difficult.”
Violation of these fire restrictions is punishable by a fine of up to $5,000 and imprisonment for up to six months.
With Independence Day a few weeks away, officials remind the public that all fireworks and the use of exploding targets always are prohibited year-round on all federal- and state-managed lands, including national forests.
For more information regarding the fire restrictions closure order, shooting restrictions and an accompanying map, see the “Alerts & Warnings” section on the Tonto home page at https://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/tonto/alerts-notices.
The public can obtain current state and federal fire restrictions information across Arizona on the Arizona Interagency Wildfire Prevention and Information website.
Visit Inciweb for information on current fires burning in Arizona.