Drought conditions, warm temperatures, and increasing fire danger have prompted officials to implement Stage 2 fire restrictions for the Tonto National Forest beginning April 18. Fire-causing activities are prohibited across the entire Tonto National Forest.
Fire Restrictions Begin on Tonto National Forest Wednesday, April 18
Under the Stage 2 restrictions:
Building, maintaining, attending or using a fire, campfire or charcoal-burning device is prohibited; Smoking is prohibited except within an enclosed vehicle or building, or a developed recreation site; Operating a chainsaw or any other equipment powered by an internal combustion engine is prohibited between 9 a.m. to 8 p.m; The discharging of firearms, air rifles or gas guns, except when engaged in a legal hunt in accordance with state, federal or tribal laws and regulations is prohibited; and the use of fireworks, explosives or a pyrotechnic device is always prohibited.
The use of petroleum-fueled stoves, lanterns, and heating devices are allowed, if they are equipped with a switch or attached manual device that allows the fire to be extinguished immediately. Operating a motorized vehicle on Forest Service roads is allowed as long as you park in an area devoid of all vegetation.
Gila County Ordinance 11-02 stipulates that each time the Tonto National Forest issues fire restrictions, similar restrictions will apply to all unincorporated areas within Gila County. Therefore, fire restrictions for all unincorporated areas within Gila County will also begin April 18.
Gila County’s fire restrictions exclude all incorporated cities and towns, as well as tribal lands. The ordinance prohibits residents from building, maintaining, attending or igniting open outdoor fires, bonfires, campfires, fireworks, or charcoal burning devices. The complete ordinance can be found: http://www.gilacountyaz.gov/government/board_of_supervisors/docs/Ordinances/Ord11_02OpenOutdoorFire.pdf
According to Sheriff Adam Shepherd, “The Gila County Sheriff’s Office has a zero tolerance policy on violations of the County’s Fire Ordinance and the public should expect our officers to be on full alert during this year’s fire season.” Each violation pursuant to this ordinance shall result in a civil penalty not to exceed $500.00 for each violation.
Complete information on the Tonto National Forest Fire Restrictions can be found at www.fs.usda.gov/tonto/ or by calling the Globe Ranger District at 928-402-6200, the Payson Ranger District at 928-474-7900, the Pleasant Valley Ranger District at 928-462-4300, or the Tonto Basin Ranger District at 602-225-5395.
Information provided by Tonto National Forest and Gila County.