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Sun, Aug. 25

County, local fire bans start Wednesday

Federal, county and local jurisdictions are joining in a seasonal fire ban that starts at 8 a.m. Wednesday.

The Prescott National Forest, U.S. Bureau of Land Management, Yavapai County and local fire departments all start their restrictions on the same day, Yavapai County Emergency Management Coordinator Denny Foulk said.

"In anticipation of increased visitation, we want to remind visitors that we all have a role to play in preventing human-caused fires," Prescott National Forest Deputy Fire Staff Officer Jeff Andrews said. "We work closely with local agencies to coordinate fire restrictions and fire bans; and these restrictions will help to reduce the risk of a wildfire and protect our communities."

Fire officials have concluded that rapid drying of vegetation, increasing temperatures and increasing public lands visitors warrant the restrictions.

The bans will continue, and possibly expand, until monsoon rains have abated dangerous wildfire conditions. The monsoon typically arrives in Arizona in the first half of July.

The county government is banning all open fires and campfires on unincorporated private land throughout the entire county. It also prohibits the use of equipment that creates flames or sparks, including welding equipment and chain saws. People can use charcoal barbecue grills and wood fire pits as long as they are covered.

Local fire departments have similar restrictions.

The Prescott National Forest is prohibiting campfires and charcoal grills outside of developed recreation sites where grills and campfire rings are provided. All these fires also are prohibited at dispersed campsites in the Prescott Basin, identified with numbered metal posts.

Smoking is prohibited on the Prescott Forest outside enclosed vehicles, buildings and developed recreation sites where the area is cleared of all flammable material.

Fireworks always are prohibited on federal lands.

On BLM lands in Yavapai County and the entire Phoenix District, including the Agua Fria National Monument, it will be illegal to build any kind of fire from wood or charcoal. Smoking will be limited to enclosed vehicles and buildings. Shooting guns will be prohibited unless someone is legally hunting game.

BLM officials urge the public to be aware that simply driving on grass can ignite a dangerous wildfire during wildfire season. Don't let chains on vehicles drag on the road. It's always a good idea to carry a fire extinguisher.

For more information about fire restrictions across Arizona, go online to a new site called firerestrictions.us/az.

For more information on local restrictions inside Yavapai County, go online to regionalinfo-alert.org or facebook.com/ycoem.

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