Wow. Well, this is some very, very disappointing news. Turns out, Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests personnel found over 70 illegal campfires while patrolling Memorial Day weekend. “In most cases, campers complied with our request to put out their campfires, however, citations were issued,” says Mark Empey, Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests’ Fire Management Officer.
In case you forgot, on May 23, campfire and smoking restrictions were implemented in Apache and Navajo Counties, Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests, and within local fire districts located in both counties.
Most Arizona campers are used to the almost annual need for restrictions on campfires. Still, it’s clear some folks need a reminder.
Let’s not forget Arizona experienced several mega fires in 2011, namely the Wallow Fire, which charred over 538,000 acres, and, according to the Forest Service, this year’s severe drought conditions and moisture emulate the blue print from 2011. The Forest would like to enlist the public’s help in reporting abandoned fires or people who build campfires outside of developed campgrounds.
In the meantime, the fire restrictions will remain in place until national forests service lands within Apache, Greenlee and Navajo Counties receive significant precipitation.
White Mountain visitors are reminded that some campfire restrictions are always in effect, such as in forested areas within city limits of most northern Arizona communities. Additionally, fireworks are never allowed on National Forests. For more information about restrictions on public lands by calling (928) 333-3412 or toll free 1-877-864-6985 or visit (www.311info.net), and also the NEW interagency website: (Firerestrictions.us) created to inform residents and visitors about fire restrictions and closures across the South-west area.