Stage 1 Fire Restrictions for Navajo and Apache County

Stage 1 fire restrictions starting Friday October 23rd at 12:01 a.m.

                Holbrook, AZ – On Monday October 19th, the voting members of the White Mountain Fire Coordinating Group, met to discuss the current conditions of the forests throughout the region. At that meeting the members voted to recommend the enactment fire restrictions throughout Apache and Navajo Counties. Conditions similar to what we are experiencing now are historically seen in the summer months. Forest conditions are drier at this point in the year than they have ever been in historically. Therefore, Stage 1 Fire Restrictions will go into effect throughout unincorporated areas of both Apache and Navajo County on Friday October 23rd, 2020 at 12:01 a.m.

Under Stage 1 Fire Restrictions The following acts are prohibited until further notice:

  1. Building, maintaining, attending, or using a fire or campfire (unless noted in the exemptions below).
  2. Smoking outside of designated areas.
  3. Use of any and all fireworks.
  4. Use of explosive targets.
  5. Use of tracer round ammunition.

Exemptions:

*An exemption does not absolve an individual or organization from liability or responsibility for any fire started by the exempted activity.

  1. Persons obtaining a written “Special Use Permit” from the “Authority Having Jurisdiction” that specifically authorizes the otherwise prohibited act.
  2. Fires used only for the cooking of food or for providing warmth for human beings or for recreational purposes (campfires and charcoal fires) in an area that is designated for that purpose and is barren or cleared of all debris for 3 feet in diameter around the device. Permissible items include propane fire rings, pellet stoves/smokers/grills that have UL or FM approval and are a contained unit. A person of appropriate age must maintain a presence at all times when in operation.
  3. Smoking within enclosed buildings and inside vehicles is allowed. Smoking may also be allowed in or on porches, carports, garages, parking lots and other areas or properties which are cleared of all combustible materials so long as the smoking does not create a substantial risk of fire and all smoking materials are properly extinguished and disposed of. At no time is it allowed to discard lit cigarettes, cigars, or other smoking materials from a vehicle, or from ones’ possession in a public place. ARS 13-1603.a.1
  4. Persons using a device solely fueled by liquid petroleum or LPG fuels that can be turned on and off.  Such devices with UL and/or FM approval 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. A person of appropriate age must always maintain a presence with the device when in operation.
  5. Persons conducting activities in those designated areas where the activity is specifically authorized by written posted notice.
  6. Emergency repair of public utilities and railroads as per attached conditions.
  7. Any Federal, State, or local officer or member of an organized rescue or firefighting force in the performance of an official duty.
  8. All land within a city boundary is exempted unless otherwise stated by city ordinance.
  9. Other exemptions unique to each “Authority Having Jurisdiction”.

Fires used only for the cooking of food or for providing warmth for human beings or recreational purposes (campfires and charcoal fires) in an area that is designated for that purpose and is barren or cleared of all debris. 

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 three feet of the device.

Persons conducting activities in those designated areas where the activity is specifically authorized by written posted notice.

Any Federal, State, or local officer or member of an organized rescue or firefighting force in the performance of an official duty.

All land within a city boundary is exempted unless otherwise stated by city ordinance.

Other exemptions unique to each agency/tribe.

Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests’ Stage 1 Fire Restrictions Will Begin on Friday, October 9 at 8:00 AM

Springerville, AZ – October 8, 2020 – Due to extreme fire danger in all vegetation types, the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests will enter Stage 1 Fire Restrictions along with the other national forests in Arizona on Friday, October 9th, at 8:00 AM to protect public health and reduce preventable human-caused wildfires.

“This seems very odd for October. We are seeing values that are normally seen in mid-June and all values continue to trend upward, “said Gary Strickland, Forest Fire Management Officer. “Wildfire occurrence is rising in reaction to receptive fuels. Firefighters are currently engaged in fire suppression operations on the Cow Canyon Fire and the Jake Springs Fire and continue to respond to an increase of abandoned campfires and new starts on the forest. We are asking the public for their cooperation during this time to keep our communities safe.”

Criteria used to determine when to implement fire restrictions include current and predicted weather, fuel moisture, fire activity levels, and available firefighting resources.

Restrictions will remain in effect until December 31, 2020, or until forest officials determine that conditions have changed sufficiently to reduce the risk of human-caused wildfires, whichever occurs first.

Under Stage 1 Restrictions the following acts are prohibited: 16 U.S.C. § 551 and 36 C.F.R. § 261.50(a) and (b)

•     Igniting, building, maintaining, or using a fire, including charcoal and briquettes outside a fire structure that is provided by the Forest Service within a designated area.  36 C.F.R. § 261.52(a).

•     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 all flammable material.  36 C.F.R. § 261.52(d).

Exemptions to the restrictions include the following: 36 C.F.R. §261.50(e)

•     Holders of Forest Service Special Use Authorizations are exempt from restriction #1 above, provided such fires are within a fire structure and they are within their permitted area.

•     Persons using a stove or grill that is solely fueled by liquid petroleum or liquid petroleum gas (LPG) fuels.

•     Persons using a stove fire in a designated area.

•     Any Federal, State or local officer, or member of an organized rescue or fire fighting force in the performance of an official duty.

Recreational target shooting and legal hunting activities are permitted and are not affected by this order. Fireworks and explosives, including exploding targets, are never allowed on national forests. Use good judgment and basic safety precautions when hiking, fishing or camping; and follow Leave No Trace principles.

Several Forests in AZ and NM are still in fire restrictions.  Know before you go. Check current fire information and restrictions on the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests website, or call (928) 333-6280.