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.