Before you head out into Arizona’s wilderness, it is important to be aware of multiple fire restrictions implemented last week over various locations of the state’s recreational areas. Arizona’s dry and warm winter has contributed to stricter fire regulations already in place headed into the busy wildfire season. Drought conditions, a drier than normal winter, and rising temperatures have exacerbated the situation and led to earlier than usual restrictions for campers and travellers. The last time the state had experienced this high level of drought was three years ago.
The latest report lists campfire and smoking restrictions throughout the state, including areas in the national forests of Tonto, Prescott, and Coconino and on various portions of public land located in the central and western parts of the state. Affected counties include La Paz Yuma, Gila, Mohave, Maricopa, and Yavapai, in addition to some parts of Pinal County. Thus far, these areas are under either a stage one or stage two level of restriction. Various state agencies including the Bureau of Land Management Phoenix and Colorado River Districts and the individual national forest protection agencies work together to determine the restrictions and enforce the rules.
Conditions are being continually monitored by state officials and weekly conferences have been implemented to assist in the dissemination of information. Officials recognize the inconvenience the bans put on forest visitors, however, urge travellers to exercise caution and consider the consequences when using fire.