PRESCOTT – Prescott National Forest officials have decided to temporarily ban the use of chainsaws on the forest, effective at 8 a.m. Friday.
Officials cited continued dry conditions as the reason behind their decision.
People still can gather fuel wood with a valid wood permit, and they still can use non-motorized handsaws.
Other fire-use restrictions already in effect include no campfires, charcoal grills or candles. Smoking is allowed only within an enclosed vehicle or building.
Heightened fire prevention patrols are continuing
on the forest, to talk with forest visitors about the fire danger and the restrictions. Visitors can expect patrols to contact them more than once as they recreate on the forest this weekend.
The Yavapai County Jeep Posse volunteers have been helping the Forest Service with prevention patrols.
In addition, electric signs are at major access points as another tool to remind the public of current restrictions.
Still, patrols ticketed six people over the Fourth of July weekend who built campfires in violation of the restric-tions.
Meanwhile, officials are joining the public in hoping for relief from monsoons soon.
The National Weather Service reports that the monsoon pattern has started to develop.
Thunderstorms with little precipitation normally occur for several days prior to significant monsoon rainfall, however, so people can expect an increase in lightning-caused fires during that time.
The forest will have to receive at least an inch of precipitation over a widespread area to significantly reduce the fire danger, Prescott National Forest Fire Management Officer Robert Morales said.
In addition to the fire restrictions, a closure order remains in place for the southern portion of the Bradshaw Ranger District.
The boundary for the closed area is: from the forest boundary south and west along Forest Road 259 (County Road 59) to Poland Creek, then south along the Castle Creek Wilderness boundary to Whiskey Springs, then south along Forest Road 100 to Trail 233, then southwest along Trail 233 to the forest boundary, then east and north along the forest boundary to Forest Road 259.
This area is generally known as the Castle Creek Wilderness and Horsethief Basin area.
Violation of any fire restriction order is punishable by a maximum $5,000 fine or six months imprisonment or both.
To report a fire, call 9-1-1. For Arizona and New Mexico fire restriction information, call toll-free 1-877-864-6985 or visit the following Web site: www.fs.fed.us/r3/fire.