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Sunday, June 12, 2011

Fire restrictions increased on Tonto National Forest

PHOENIX (June 10, 2011) – Drought conditions, hot temperatures and increased fire danger have resulted in increased fire restrictions for the Tonto National Forest beginning at 8 a.m., Saturday, June 11.  Most types of fire or fire-causing activities will be prohibited across the Tonto National Forest.

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

Restrictions also apply to smoking outside of a cleared area, 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.

Use of petroleum-fueled stoves, lanterns, and heating devices is allowed, and some developed campgrounds are also exempted from these restrictions.  These exemptions are limited to charcoal cooking fires only. 

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

“Because of ongoing drought, dry forest conditions, and exceptionally low relative humidities, fire restrictions are needed to protect forest users, structures and natural resources from the increased potential for dangerous wildland fires,” said Tonto National Forest Fire Staff 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,” concluded Templin.

Violation of these restrictions is punishable by a fine of up to $5,000 for individuals, $10,000 for organizations, 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  

To report a wildfire, call 1-866-746-6516 or dial 911.

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