HOLBROOK, AZ (April 22, 2014) – Due to earlier than usual extreme fire conditions, effective April 22, 2014 at 9:00 a.m. all unincorporated areas of Navajo County will be placed under Stage 1 fire restrictions regulating the use of fire and spark-igniting equipment or operations. The Navajo County Board of Supervisors, during its regular meeting on Tuesday, unanimously voted to accept emergency management staff’s recommendation to enact the restrictions.
The recently revised Navajo County Outdoor Fire Ordinance Stage 1 Restrictions are effective in the unincorporated area of Navajo County, exclusive of areas under the jurisdiction of the federal government, the State of Arizona or a federally recognized American Indian tribe. Under Stage 1 Minimal Restrictions the following prohibitions and exemptions apply:
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, 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 materials.
3. Use of any and all fireworks.
4. Use of explosive targets.
5. Use of tracer round ammunition.
(Note: for the smoking provision, each agency/tribe must cite their actual regulations/laws; therefore the wording for the prohibition may be slightly different.)
1. Persons with a written permit 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.
3. 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.
4. Persons conducting activities in those designated areas where the activity is specifically authorized by written posted notice.
5. Any Federal, State or local officer or member of an organized rescue or firefighting force in the performance of an official duty.
6. All land within a city boundary is exempted unless otherwise stated by city ordinance.
7. Other exemptions unique to each agency/tribe.
An exemption does not absolve an individual or organization from liability or responsibility for any fire started by the exempted activity.
“It has been nice to finally see a little moisture in our area, but we have not received enough to appreciably improve fire conditions,” said Navajo County District IV Supervisor David Tenney. “If there is anything that we have learned from the last several years of wildfire season, it is that the wisest course of action is to join with our neighboring agencies and land managers to exercise a high level of caution and enact fire restrictions across northeastern Arizona now. Even one preventable fire event is one too many in the current conditions we are under.”
Citing current conditions that fire managers say are as bad or worse than those in 2002, the year of the devastating Rodeo-Chedeski wildfires, District V Supervisor Dawnafe Whitesinger agreed with the decision to enter the Stage 1 restrictions, “We need residents and visitors to understand we are experiencing extreme fire danger very early this year, which means we must be cautious now. We appreciate everyone who enjoys our outdoor areas safely and responsibly, and we hope they will appreciate the importance of this decision at this time.”
To review the Navajo County Outdoor Fire Ordinance in detail, or to review restrictions for other area agencies, visit http://311info.net. To receive emergency alerts via text from the Northeastern Public Information System (311), text: 40404, and write “follow Az311Info” in the message. (Standard text messaging rates may apply.)
Dial 911 to report smoke or wildfires.