County fire ban still in effect on private lands

Yavapai County officials have decided to continue the county's seasonal fire-use ban until monsoon rains become more widespread.

The county's restrictions cover all unincorporated private land, unless a local fire agency has decided to lift the ban.

That means residents in the Central Yavapai Fire District, Mayer Fire District and Verde Valley are out of the fire ban, for example, because CYFD, Mayer and Verde Valley fire agencies have decided their regions have received enough rain and humidity to end their bans. The City of Prescott and Groom Creek also lifted their bans Wednesday in conjunction with all the national forests in Arizona.

County Emergency Management Coordinator Nick Angiolillo has discussed the issue with several rural fire departments and many remain concerned about the fire danger in their regions, especially lower-elevation areas.

So fire bans remain on private lands in unincorporated areas including Black Canyon City, Congress, Yarnell, Wilhoit, Ash Fork and Seligman.

Fire bans also remain on state trust lands and U.S. Bureau of Land Management properties.

People unsure of their status can call their local fire agencies.

The county fire ban prohibits all open fires and campfires, oil and tiki lamps, and equipment such as welders and chainsaws that produce sparks. Businesses can seek variances on the equipment ban.

The county fire ban still allows people to use charcoal barbecue grills and fire pits if they have screened covers.

Petroleum-fueled stoves and lanterns, as well as gas barbecues, also are exempt from the county fire ban.

However, officials still ask people to be extremely cautious since these devices produce flames.

Fireworks are illegal in Arizona year-round, although some will become legal later this year.

County and fire officials will revisit their fire bans Monday and, if widespread rains occur, they might lift their fire bans.

For more information about fire restrictions, go to www.azfireinfo.az.gov.