Supervisors update Wildfire Defense Ordinance

FLAGSTAFF — The Coconino County Board of Supervisors updated the Wildfire Defense Ordinance during a special session Wednesday, May 3. The updates clarified language in the ordinance and strengthened the coordination of fire-related activities between fire management jurisdictions within the County.

The largest wildfires in Coconino County, the Schultz and Slide Fires, were human caused. The total economic impact of the Schultz Fire alone estimated at between $133-147 million. The Schultz Fire in 2010 claimed 15,000 acres and 2014’s Slide Fire claimed 21,000 acres.

“Residents of Coconino County know too well the damage wildfire can cause,” said Chairwoman of the Board, Liz Archuleta. “The updated language in the Wildfire Defense Ordinance will clear up confusion, specify roles of agencies and provide better communication with residents and visitors. This will help keep our communities safe from fire and protect the well- being of our forests.”

The updated changes to the Wildfire Defense Ordinance (2017-05) are effective May 3, 2017 and the following updates will be incorporated:

• During fire restrictions, people can’t initiate, facilitate, maintain, cause or contribute to a campfire, an open fire, or use of fireworks; or knowingly engage in an activity likely to result in combustion.
• Narrowly defined exemptions during fire restrictions. Permits for exemptions are requested through the local fire district. People living outside of a fire district can request a variance through Coconino County Emergency Management.
• Fire restriction stages are in line with the Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management and the U.S. Forest Service.

The Wildfire Defense Ordinance guidelines are enacted by the Board of Supervisors with recommendations by the Emergency Management Director.

“Thank you to the Board of Supervisors for their input and hard work on updating the Wildfire Defense Ordinance,” said Coconino County Emergency Management Director Todd Whitney. “I also want to thank our local, state and federal partners for working with us to make updates to this ordinance. We look forward to keeping constituents and visitors informed during fire restrictions.”

The full ordinance and a complete list of changes can be found at: