Dry conditions trigger increased fire restrictions on Coronado National Forest

Contributed Photo/Courtesy Rachel Bryce: The Frye Fire, started by dry lightning in June 2017, burned roughly 48,443 acres on Mount Graham as the mountain burned for more than a month. The Coronado National Forest implemented Stage 2 fire restrictions Friday, May 15.

Stage 2 fire restrictions begin Friday, May 15, 2020

Contributed Article

CORONADO NATIONAL FOREST – Effective Friday, May 15 all ranger districts of the Coronado National Forest will increase campfire and smoking restrictions in southeastern Arizona.

Beginning May 15, and until rescinded, the following are prohibited:

  • The building, maintaining, attending, or using a fire, campfire, charcoal, coal, or wood stove including fires in developed campgrounds or improved sites.
  • Smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle or building.
  • Discharging a firearm except while engaged in a lawful hunt pursuant to state, federal, or tribal laws and regulations.
  • Operating any internal combustion engine, except operating motorized vehicles on designated roads so long as you park in an area devoid of vegetation within 10 feet of the roadway.
  • Welding, or operating acetylene or other torches with an open flame.
  • Using an explosive.

Fireworks are always prohibited year-round on federal lands.

Jon Johnson File Photo/Gila Herald: Smoke rises from the Frye Fire on Mount Graham during the sunset in June 2017.

Violation of restrictions on federal lands is punishable as a Class B misdemeanor, which includes a fine of not more than $5,000 for an individual and up to $10,000 for organizations and possible imprisonment for not more than six months or both. Violators may also be held personally responsible for reimbursement of fire suppression costs. Arizona and New Mexico state laws carry similar penalties.

Pressurized liquid or gas stoves, lanterns, and heaters possessing shut-off devices are allowed. When using a portable stove, make sure the area is clear of grasses and other fine fuels. Prevent stoves from tipping and starting a fire. 

Cigarettes should never be thrown out the window of a vehicle. Instead, ashtrays should be used in order to prevent wildfires. 

Never park a vehicle over dead grass; the catalytic converter can ignite the vegetation.

Fire conditions, as well as localized closures and restrictions, are subject to change.  Because tribal, federal, state, and local mandates are different, they may have some differences in their restriction notices.  For a more detailed explanation concerning agency restrictions and fire information in general, please contact the nearest land management agency office where you plan to work or play, visit http://wildlandfire.az.gov or call the toll-free Southwest Fire Restrictions Hotline at 1-877-864-6985.

Previously, the Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management and Bureau of Land Management implemented Stage 2 fire restrictions on its land Tuesday, May 12.