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Tonto National Forest Fire Restrictions

Tonto National Forest Has Initiated Stage 1 Fire Restrictions

 

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'Know Before You Go'

Tonto National Forest Has Initiated Stage 1 Fire Restrictions

Current drought conditions in central Arizona resulted in the Tonto National Forest (Tonto) entering Stage 1 Fire Restrictions on May 14 beginning at 8 a.m. in an effort to protect public health by reducing the number of preventable, human-caused wildfires. Restrictions will remain in effect until forest officials determine that conditions have changed sufficiently to reduce the risk of human-caused wildfires.

Prohibited Acts

During Stage 1 Fire Restrictions, the following acts are prohibited on all National Forest System lands within the Tonto:

Igniting, building, maintaining, attending or using a fire, campfire, or stove fire, including charcoal and briquettes, outside a fire structure that is provided by the Forest Service within a designated area.

Smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed recreation site, or while stopped in an area at least three (3) feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of any flammable material.

Discharging a firearm, air rifle, or gas gun. This means recreational target shooting is prohibited. However, persons engaged in legal hunting activities pursuant to state, federal, or tribal laws and regulations are allowed to discharge a firearm while taking Wildlife.

No Fireworks At All

Visitors are reminded that fireworks and explosives are prohibited year-round on National Forest System lands.

The May 8 start of the Maverick fire on the Mesa Ranger District is one of six human-caused wildfire starts on the Tonto in May, according to Taiga Rohrer, Tonto National Forest Fire Management Officer. "With extreme drought, 'Very High' to 'Extreme Fire Danger', no rain forecasted in the near future and rising temperatures, we're anticipating an active wildfire season," Rohrer said. "These fire restrictions will protect human life, property and our natural resources."

Exemptions To The Stage 1 Fire Restrictions

Persons using a device solely fueled by liquid petroleum or LPG fuels that can be turned on and off. Such devices can only be used 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.

Definitions

Designated area defined: Developed recreation sites such as campgrounds and picnic areas that are maintained and administered by the Forest Service, shown on the current Forest visitor maps, and are equipped with permanent fire structures.

Fire structure defined: A permanent metal or concrete structure, which is specifically designed for the purpose of containing a campfire or cooking fire that has been installed and maintained by the Forest Service.

For More Information

Forest officials emphasize that 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 the fire restrictions closure order and map, see the "Alerts & Warnings" section on the Tonto home page at http://www.fs.usda.gov/tonto.

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.

Fire Prevention Team On The Tonto National Forest

The Tonto National Forest has mobilized a National Fire Prevention Education Team to inform forest visitors about target shooting caused wildfires and the forest's Stage 1 fire restrictions. Interagency group educates Tonto National Forest visitors about wildfire prevention.

Target Shooting

Target shooting is a recognized cause of wildfires when high fire danger conditions are present on the Tonto National Forest. Fire danger conditions are monitored closely from spring through summer, or through the end of fire season, to determine when fire restriction orders are appropriate.

The forest's Stage 1 fire restriction order includes a prohibition on "discharging a firearm" (with an exception for legal hunting activity) pursuant to 36 C.F.R. 261.58(m). The purpose of this prohibition is to protect the public and our natural resources from the risk of a recreational shooting-caused ignition during the extreme environmental conditions associated with Arizona summers.

Need To Restrict Recreational Shooting

There is a need to restrict recreational shooting for public safety and resource protection across the forest when these conditions are present due to the Tonto's exceptionally high recreational use. Responsible recreation requires forest visitors to be extra cautious.

The Tonto National Forest has seen an increase in the number of human-caused ignitions and a National Fire Prevention Education Team has been ordered to help reduce unwanted wildfires. The team will be developing and distributing information in the Phoenix Metro area to help increase forest visitor awareness about the risk of starting a wildfire.

Interagency Partners Introduce New Tool For Fire Restrictions Information

Interagency public land management partners from Arizona and New Mexico have developed a map-based, online resource to inform the public about fire restrictions on public lands.

Partner agencies, under the Southwest Coordinating Group, developed a new informational web tool that went live this spring. This tool provides the public with fire restrictions information for public lands that is easy to find and understand. The tool also links users to those agencies that manage public lands for more detailed information for trip planning.

In Arizona, the fire restriction information web tool can be found by visiting: wildlandfire.az.gov. In New Mexico, the fire restriction information web tool can be found by visiting: NMFireInfo.com.

Fire restrictions are implemented in an effort to help decrease human-caused fires dur

ing periods of high fire potential by restricting activities which are the most common causes of wildfires. By providing a resource with accurate and timely information, the goal is to educate and increase compliance, therefore reducing preventable, human-caused fires.

Partner agencies involved in this effort include the National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, USDA Forest Service, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management, and the New Mexico Forestry Division.

Do your part in keeping our residents, property, and wild lands safe from unwanted, human-caused fires; know before you go!

For More Information

Public Affairs Officer: Susan Blake, (480) 647-8082, susan.blake@usda.gov, http://www.fs.usda.gov/tonto

 

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