General Fire restrictions on Tonto National Forest begin Wednesday, May 22

By | May 25, 2013

All fireworks prohibited year-round

PHOENIX (May 21, 2013) – Drought conditions, hot temperatures, and increased fire danger have resulted in fire restrictions for the Tonto National Forest beginning at 8 a.m., Wednesday, May 22.

Most types of fire or fire-causing activities are prohibited across the entire Tonto National Forest.

Building, maintaining, attending or using a fire, campfire or charcoal-burning device is prohibited.

Restrictions also apply to operating internal combustion power tools, using welding equipment or torches with open flames, operating combustion engines without spark-arresting devices in effective working order, or discharging firearms except in taking game in accordance with Arizona hunting laws.

Smoking is prohibited except within an enclosed vehicle or building, or a developed recreation site.

Use of petroleum-fueled stoves, lanterns, and heating devices are allowed, and some developed campgrounds are also exempted from these restrictions.  (Please see attached list).

“We are going into restrictions due to rapidly decreasing fuel moisture and low humidity levels, as well as hot, dry, windy conditions going into the Memorial Day weekend,” said Tonto National Forest Fire Management Officer Clay Templin. “These precautionary measures are intended to enhance our visitors’ quality recreation experiences. Most areas of the Tonto National Forest remain available for recreation activity, including all the Salt River system lakes.”

“We continue to remind the public that all fireworks are prohibited on the forest at all times — and this includes the use of exploding targets,” emphasized Templin. “We are highly concerned on the forest due to the increase of fires caused by recreational shooting in these continuing drought conditions. We have already had eight fire starts this year from this activity.    We would like to prevent a repeat of the Sunflower fire that was caused by target shooting and burned 17, 6118 acres and cost $5.7 million in firefighting efforts.”

Violation of these fire restrictions is punishable by a fine of up to $5,000 and imprisonment for up to six months

For more information regarding forest recreation sites and fire restrictions, please contact the Tonto National Forest at (602) 225-5200, or 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. Southwest Coordination Center website:  http://gacc.nifc.gov/swcc or http://www.publiclands.org/firenews/AZ.php