The Tonto National Forest will begin Stage 2 Fire Restrictions May 12 at 8 a.m. in conjunction with other federal and state land management agencies in Arizona.
According to Tonto National Forest Supervisor Neil Bosworth, rising temperatures and an increase in drying trends of grass fuel loads resulting from above average winter moisture prompted the decision to implement these fire restrictions.
“Arizona’s wet winter has created a carpet of grasses which are now cured and dry due to the recent high temperatures,” Bosworth said. “With the escalating fire danger, we already have seen an increase in human caused fires on the Tonto. Implementing these fire restrictions with other area land management agencies will help prevent human-caused wildfires, reducing risk to firefighters and the public.”
During Stage II Fire Restrictions, the following is prohibited:
- Igniting, building, maintaining, attending, or using a fire, campfire, or stove fire, including use of charcoal or briquettes is prohibited on the Tonto National Forest
- The use of stoves or grills that are solely fueled by liquid petroleum gas (LPG) are allowed
- Operating internal combustion power tools, such as a chainsaw or other equipment, between 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
- 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 are allowed
- 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
Taiga Rohrer, Tonto National Forest Fire Management Officer, emphasizes the need for the public to be very careful while visiting the forest.
“The cured grasses are especially susceptible to the slightest spark, so it’s important to avoid parking on or driving over dry grass,” Rohrer said. “Motorists also should check to ensure any trailer chains don’t drag, and check the condition of trailer tires and wheel bearing before travelling.”
He noted that violation of these fire restrictions is punishable by a fine of up to $5,000 and imprisonment for up to six months.
In addition to Stage II Fire Restrictions, target shooting restrictions also remain in effect on the Tonto through July 31. Under these restrictions, discharging a firearm air, rifle, or gas gun, except for persons engaged in legal hunting activities, is prohibited on the Tonto.
Fireworks and the use of exploding targets always are prohibited year-round on national forests.
For more information regarding forest recreation sites and fire restrictions on the Tonto National Forest, contact the Tonto National Forest at (602) 225-5200. The Stage II Fire Restrictions document and accompanying map can be found on the Tonto website.
For information on current fires burning in Arizona visit Inciweb, and visit the Arizona Fire Restrictions website to view all fire restrictions in Arizona.