Forest Service lifts campfire restrictions
PRESCOTT – The Prescott National Forest lifted all its temporary fire restrictions today.
Monsoonal rains, consistently higher humidity levels, fire behavior and lack of competition for firefighting resources all factored into the decision, said Ed Hollenshead, top fire officer on the Prescott Forest.
The public's cooperation with the recent restrictions also helped, he said.
"I really appreciate the support that's been given by everyone," he said. "It's been nothing short of incredible the cooperation we've had, and because of that we avoided the difficult situation our neighbors have experienced" with out-of-control wildfires during the recent drought.
While forest visitors can now have campfires throughout the forest, fireworks always are illegal on the national forests throughout the Southwest.
And even though the fire hazard has been reduced substantially, officials ask people to use caution with campfires and combustion engines. Don't leave a campfire unattended, and make sure it's dead-out before you leave the area. Check that all spark arresters and mufflers on gas-powered equipment and all-terrain vehicles are in good working condition.
Prescott Forest officials banned fires outside campgrounds and picnic areas May 13, then banned all fires June 2. On June 23, officials again started allowing fires inside developed campgrounds and picnic areas.
The City of Prescott also has lifted its fire restrictions, but personal fireworks are illegal throughout Arizona.
Restrictions against campfires and other open fires remain in effect throughout the county (outside incorporated communities and U.S. Forest Service lands). County Emergency Management Director Nick Angiolillo is consulting with fire chiefs about whether to lift those restrictions.
Other forests throughout Arizona and New Mexico also have been relaxing restrictions. For more information about these other forests, call toll-free 1-877-864-6985, or go to the Internet site www.fs.fed.us/r3/fire.