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Trusted local news leader for Prescott area communities since 1882
4:28 AM Fri, Nov. 16th

Kaibab joins fire ban as activity increases

The Kaibab National Forest is the latest in Arizona to enact fire-use restrictions, which go into effect today.

The restrictions cover two of the forest's three ranger districts, Williams and Tusayan in the southern portion of the forest including part of Yavapai County.

The restrictions prohibit any kind of fires unless they are in developed campgrounds. Cigarette smoking is limited to enclosed vehicles, buildings and developed campgrounds.

These restrictions are similar to those in effect on the entire Prescott National Forest and most of the Red Rock Ranger District on the Coconino National Forest. Both are partially located in Yavapai County. The Tonto Forest also has fire restrictions in Arizona.

Fire use currently is illegal on all U.S. Bureau of Land Management and state trust lands in Yavapai County.

Firefighters caught a couple of human-caused fires inside Prescott and Prescott Valley over the past week before they spread to nearby homes. Children playing with fire ignited at least one of the blazes.

The fire restrictions are in effect until monsoon rains bring relief from wildfire danger. The monsoon usually arrives in July.

New Mexico is experiencing worse drought conditions than Arizona because of a lack of winter precipitation. The entire Lincoln National Forest, where a 46,478-acre wildfire is burning, has been closed to the public since May 1.

This part of Arizona has yet to see pre-monsoonal dry lightning, which is igniting wildfires in eastern Arizona and New Mexico. On Monday, authorities reported 21 new lightning-caused wildfires in Arizona and New Mexico, along with four new human-caused wildfires.

Officials have called for help from a national fire team to battle a 4,000-acre wildfire on the Coronado National Forest southeast of Tucson. And a 2,000-acre fire on the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest has forced the closure of a section of Highway 191. Officials said it is exhibiting extreme fire behavior.

The National Weather Service expects hot, dry weather to persist in Northern Arizona over the next several days, along with breezy conditions. Mountains along the New Mexico border could get thunderstorms with little or no precipitation.

Some northern Arizona communities have set record high temperatures in recent days, including Cottonwood's 107 degrees on Friday. That tied 1999's record.

To keep up with local fire restrictions, visit www.regionalinfo-alert.org.

To see information about fire restrictions throughout Arizona and other wildfire issues, go to www.azstatefire.org. Or call 1-877-864-6985 toll free.