FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – The fire ban enacted by the Coconino County Board of Supervisors last month has sparked a flood of questions from community members, visitors and staff.
While the ban approved May 16 specifically bans open grilling, campfires and fireworks, County residents and visitors are encouraged to use their best judgement when considering whether to engage in any activity that could spark a fire.
County officials have received numerous questions inquiring whether campfires, open barbecues, barbecue pits, all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), chainsaws, firearms and open fires on private property are permissible.
Until extreme fire conditions improve, the County’s fire ban prohibits all open burning in unincorporated areas of the County, including the use of fireworks, other pyrotechnic displays, all open fires and campfires (in both developed and undeveloped campgrounds).
Those caught violating the open fire ban by using fireworks face up to 30 days in jail, one year probation or a fine of up to $500. Citizens are encouraged to check for restrictions in other jurisdictions before using any fireworks. Furthermore, state law allows authorities to charge those caught causing a situation with “conscious disregard for (high fire danger) circumstances & potential risk”.
Meanwhile, the County Parks and Recreation Department has also implemented fire restrictions on County parks. Those restrictions include the following parks: Fort Tuthill County Park, Sawmill Multicultural Art and Nature Park, Peaks View County Park in Flagstaff; Raymond County Park in Kachina Village; Cataract Lake County Park in Williams; and Louise Yellowman County Park in Tuba City.
In addition to the countywide fire ban, the following restrictions have been placed at County parks:
• Camping is permitted only in designated campgrounds at Fort Tuthill County Park;
• Smoking is strictly prohibited outdoors and only allowed in designated areas and/or in enclosed vehicles;
• Parking is prohibited on grassy forested areas and allowed in designated parking areas;
• Open fires are prohibited. This includes campfires, charcoal grills, torches, fireworks and candles. Only liquid gas stoves are permitted in improved areas (cleared of all vegetation, typically on a cinder or gravel surface).
Residents and visitors countywide are allowed to use (with caution) petroleum-fueled stoves or lanterns, and enclosed charcoal barbecue grills operated in residential yards. Special events may be allowed, with the approval of the County Board of Supervisors.
The Board’s decision to impose the ban was done in conjunction with increasingly strict fire restrictions placed on the Coconino and Kaibab National Forests and the City of Flagstaff. All three agencies have entered into Stage 2 fire restrictions, which prohibits all open fires, campfires in developed and undeveloped campgrounds and smoking outside of vehicles.
The use of any machinery that may emit sparks, such as chainsaws and welding equipment should be avoided during the extreme fire danger period.
Kaibab and Coconino National Forest Stage 2 Fire Restrictions
What: The following Stage 2 fire restrictions are in place on the Coconino and Kaibab National Forests.
Prohibited: Open fires; all campfires; charcoal, coal or wood stoves, including in developed campgrounds; the use of explosives; the use of any internal or external combustion engine without a spark-arresting device; welding or operating acetylene or other torch with open flame. Also prohibited is chainsaw use between 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Allowed with restrictions:
Smoking to within enclosed vehicles or buildings.
Discharging a firearm unless engaged in a lawful hunt.
Welding or operating acetylene or other torch with open flame.
Violation: Punishable with a fine up to $5,000 and/or imprisonment for up to six months.
For more information on restrictions on the Coconino National Forest, visit: http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/coconino/news-events/?cid=STELPRDB5372020
For more information on restriction on the Kaibab National Forest, visit: http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/kaibab/news-events/?cid=STELPRDB5372439