Tonto National Forest continues Stage 1 Fire Restrictions


Tonto National Forest continues Stage 1 Fire Restrictions

Courtesy of the Tonto National Forest

PHOENIX, Sept. 29, 2020 – The Tonto National Forest will continue Stage 1 Fire Restrictions due to extreme fire danger in all vegetation types across the forest. The extreme fire danger is due to insufficient monsoonal moisture this season, high temperatures and continued dry fuel conditions.

Stage 1 Fire Restrictions were set to expire on Sept. 30, but were extended through Oct. 31, 2020, or until rescinded, whichever occurs first. The purpose of these restrictions is to reduce the risk of human-caused wildfires during periods of high fire danger and elevated fire weather conditions.

Fire officials use several criteria to determine when to modify fire restrictions, including current and predicted weather, fuel moistures, fire activity and available firefighting resources. Campfires and charcoal fires in developed campgrounds and picnic areas, are allowed but only in Forest Service rings and BBQs. Open fires in dispersed recreation areas remain prohibited.

“We appreciate the public’s cooperation during this unprecedented season of extreme fire danger,” said Acting Forest Supervisor Tom Torres. “The Tonto National Forest is still experiencing an active wildfire season. Firefighters are currently engaged in fire suppression operations on the Sears Fire and crews continue to respond to new starts on the forest.”

Stage 1 Fire Restrictions are as follows:

Pursuant to 16 U.S.C. § 551 and 36 C.F.R. § 261.50(a) and (b), the following acts are prohibited on all National Forest System lands described in this Order (the “Restricted Area”) and as depicted on the attached map, hereby incorporated into this Order as Exhibit A, within the Tonto National Forest in Maricopa, Gila, Yavapai, and Pinal Counties, Arizona.

  1. Igniting, building, maintaining, attending, or using a fire, campfire, or stove 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).
  2. 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 any flammable material. 36 C.F.R. § 261.52(d).
  3. Discharging a firearm, air rifle, or gas gun. 36 C.F.R. § 261.58(m).

Recreational target shooting remains prohibited at this time; however, legal hunting activities are permitted in areas not affected by a closure order. Under Stage 1 Fire Restrictions, cooking devices that are fueled by liquid petroleum or LPG fuel, that can be turned off immediately with no remaining burning material may be used in safe areas devoid of vegetation.

Campfires, and charcoal BBQs must be completely extinguished after use. Abandoned campfires continue to be a major cause of wildfires. Always keep enough water on hand, and a tool to drown and stir fires. If it is too hot to touch, it is too hot to leave. Learn about campfire safety and prevention tips.

Violators of the above restrictions are subject to fines and/or imprisonment. For more information on Tonto National Forest Restrictions, visit our website or call the following district ranger stations for more information: Cave Creek Ranger District (480) 595-3300; Globe Ranger District (928) 402-6200; Mesa Ranger District (480) 610-3300; Payson Ranger District (928) 474-7900; and Tonto Basin Ranger District (602) 225-5395.