Mon, Jan

Governments ban open fires


A wildland fire started within two hours of the announcement of fire restrictions on national forest land by Yavapai County, the Prescott and Coconino national forests, the city of Cottonwood and Verde Valley Fire District.

VVFD was dispatched at 9:17 a.m. Thursday, June 1, to State Route 89A milepost 359, between Cottonwood and Page Springs Road, south of Oak Creek Road. Crews stopped the spread of the fire within 15 minutes of arriving and was completely extinguished with assistance from Sedona Fire District, Prescott forest rangers and Arizona Department of Transportation.

According to VVFD Deputy Chief Joe Moore, the fire was “caused by a vehicle that had the front tire come off of the vehicle, causing sparks and hot metal to ignite the weeds along the road.”

Though the incident appeared not to have occurred due to fire-management negligence, Moore took the opportunity to remind the public of the fire restrictions announced at 8 a.m. throughout the county.

“No open burning is allowed in the fire district,” Moore stated, adding that gas barbecues and charcoal barbecues that have covers are permitted. “Residents are encouraged to exercise caution and good judgment.”

Yavapai County Emergency Management Office Board of Supervisor Vice Chairman Rowle Simmons signed the interim order, citing “recent wildland fire activity in the area and the combination of windy conditions and warmer temperatures which are quickly drying out the tall vegetation which has grown over the spring months [and which] create the potential for a large fire event.”

Fireworks and other pyrotechnic displays are prohibited, as well as other types of outdoor fires that produce open flames, such as tiki lamps. The ban further prohibits outdoor use of equipment that produces open flames or sparks, including welding equipment and chain saws.

For Prescott National Forest locations, the following restrictions also apply:

  • No “building, maintaining, attending or using a fire, campfire, charcoal, coal, or wood stove, except in developed recreation sites with metal fire rings or cooking grills.”
  • No “smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle or building, or in a developed recreation site in an area at least three feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of all flammable materials.”
  • No “discharging a firearm, except while engaged in a lawful hunt pursuant to state, federal laws and regulations.”

The city of Cottonwood and VVFD stated that they are allowing the use of cooking on propane and charcoal grills with covers, offering the following suggestions:

  • Propane grills are preferred over charcoal grills during high fire danger periods. n Charcoal grills shall have a functioning lid.
  • Locate your grill at least 10 feet from combustibles [wood piles, vegetation, etc.]. n Keep a garden hose readily available nearby.
  • A competent, unimpaired adult should be in attendance until the fire is out.
  • Charcoal should be placed in a metal container and soaked with water after use to ensure complete extinguishment.

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