Countywide fire ban starts today

A fire ban across all four fire-ban zones is in effect as of 8 a.m. today.

The Yavapai County Office of Emergency Management, Prescott National Forest, Bureau of Land Management, Arizona State Forestry, Arizona Game and Fish, Central Yavapai Fire District, and other local jurisdictions implemented the ban because of extreme fire hazard conditions.

The fire ban covers the unincorporated areas of the county, and the 165 square miles of the Central Yavapai Fire District, including areas around the City of Prescott such as Williamson Valley, upper Copper Basin Road and Mountain Club area, Ponderosa Park off of White Spar Road, the Senator Highways area of Karen Drive, Sweet Acres, and Oak Knoll Village and areas extending south of Prescott including Govt. Canyon, Diamond Valley, the Town of Prescott Valley and the Town of Dewey/Humboldt. Each fire department or district has the authority to apply fire restrictions for their respective jurisdictions.

The county ban prohibits all open fires and campfires. Other types of outdoor fires prohibited are those that produce open flames, such as lamp oil in tiki lamps. Fireworks and other pyrotechnic displays are expressly prohibited. The ban also prohibits the outdoor use of equipment that generates open flames or a spark. This restricts the use of welding equipment and chain saws. Variances for businesses, however, can be requested.

According to Public Information Officer Debbie Maneely, the use of chainsaws and generators is still permissible on the Prescott National Forest. Target shooting also is still allowed. Campfires are still permitted in developed campgrounds, including the local campgrounds such as Lynx Lake and other pay sites.

"If you pay to camp," she said, "then you can have a campfire."

The county ban allows cooking on charcoal barbecue grills as long as they are covered, and it will allow the use of store-bought fire pits if they also have screened covers that do not allow sparks to pass through. Petroleum-fueled stoves or lanterns and enclosed charcoal barbeque grills operated in residential yards are exempted from this prohibition, but the public is urged to exercise extreme caution in the use of such stove, lanterns or grills.

People needing further information should contact their local fire departments or districts. Residents and guests are encouraged to research local jurisdictional closures online or by phone.

Central Yavapai Fire has implemented Stage I burn restrictions under which no burn permits will be issues, use of model rockets and fireworks are prohibited, no smoking is allowed outside of vehicles, residential yards or designated smoking areas, cooking, warming or campfires are allowed at single- and multi-family residences and town parks where they are approved but must be attended at all times.

"As the fire danger continues to increase, our Stage II restrictions may also be put into effect as we move into our summer months," CYFD Fire Marshal Rick Chase said. "These restrictions will stay in effect until we receive significant rain throughout the quad-city area to justify lifting the restrictions."

Yavapai County fire ban information can be obtained at www.regionalinfo-alert.org or www.facebook.com/YCOEM. For current information on fire restrictions, closures or wildfires on the Prescott National Forest, call 777-5799 or 443-8000. For further information about fire restrictions on public lands in Arizona and New Mexico, call toll free 1-877-864-6985 or visit http://gacc.nifc.gov/swcc/.

Maneely also pointed to an additional source for up-to-date information on fire restrictions.

The website firerestrictions.us allows users to see what restrictions are in place in all Arizona counties, even where jurisdictions overlap.