As wildfires continue to rage across Arizona, several state agencies are implementing fire restrictions, effective today, in an attempt to prevent more fires breaking out.
Currently, the Tonto, Prescott and Apache-Sitgreaves national forests are under Stage II fire restrictions. That means the following activities are prohibited in those forests:
- Building, maintaining, attending or using a fire or campfire
- Smoking, except in an enclosed vehicle or building
- Possessing, using or discharging fireworks or pyrotechnic devices
- Discharging a firearm, except during a lawful hunt
- Using explosives
- Operating chain saws or equipment with internal combustion engines between the hours of 1 p.m. and 1 a.m.
- Using internal or external combustion engines without properly installed, approved, working spark arrestors
- Welding and use of acetylene or other torches with open flames
- Using or operating motor vehicles off forest system roads, except when parking within 10 feet of a road where there is no brush or vegetation, or overnight parking in developed campgrounds and trailheads
In addition, the Bureau of Land Management announced Stage I fire restrictions for specific lands administered by the BLM:
In addition to the Stage II and elevated fire restrictions [listed above], the discharge of air rifles, exploding targets or gas guns except during a lawful hunt will be also be prohibited on lands managed by the BLM Lower Sonoran and Hassayampa field offices, BLM land in the counties of Maricopa, Pima, Pinal and Yavapai, the Sonoran Desert National Monument and the Agua Fria National Monument. Exceptions and exclusions to fire restrictions in these BLM-administered areas will permit certain limited activities, including:
- Fires in fire rings or grills provided by officials in developed campsites or picnic areas
- Smoking in areas with a diameter of at least 10 feet that are clear of brush and all flammable materials
- Use of devices solely fueled by liquid petroleum or LPG fuels that can be turned on and off in areas clear of all overhead and surrounding flammable materials within three feet of the device
- Otherwise prohibited activities are allowed if a person possesses a written permit authorizing the activity, as well as in areas where written and posted notice specifically authorizes the activity
The Gila River Fire Department has issued Open Burning Permit Restrictions and Moratorium, which is a community no-burn notice that prohibits outdoor fires typically used to dispose of refuse.
Finally, Grand Canyon National Park said in a news release that while no fire restrictions are yet in effect at the park, caution is still required:
Visitors are reminded of the following year-round fire regulations.
- Within the park, fires are only allowed in designated campgrounds and may only be ignited in grills or designated fire rings.
- If you are hiking and camping below the rim, cook stoves may be used, but campfires and other open fires are never allowed.
- If you are on a river trip, campfires are only allowed in elevated metal pans, and use of a fireproof blanket under the pan is required.
Please keep these restrictions in mind as you embark on weekend trips. We’ll continue to update you with any new restrictions as we hear about them.
Photo by Bruce Taubert
Our pals at the Arizona Game and Fish Department are looking for a few good men and women to help out with an upcoming recovery project… Check it out:
The Arizona Game and Fish Department is in need of volunteers interested in assisting in the recovery of an animal once considered the most endangered mammal on the planet. An opportunity exists for people to lend a hand in the recovery of the elusive, nocturnal, and endangered black-footed ferret.
From September 27-October 1, Game and Fish will be conducting its annual fall spotlighting effort and needs volunteers to help document black-footed ferret numbers throughout the Aubrey Valley, just west of Seligman in northwestern Arizona.
“Volunteers play a vital role in this recovery effort,” said Jeff Pebworth, wildlife program manager at the Game and Fish Kingman office. “We don’t have the personnel available to fully staff these events and the program’s continued success depends on people remaining involved.”
Twice thought to be extinct, a small population of black-footed ferrets was discovered in 1981. A mere 18 were left when captive breeding efforts began in 1985. In 1996, Arizona’s Aubrey Valley was selected as a reintroduction site.
In just the last 10 years, black-footed ferrets in Aubrey Valley have reached a population high enough to be considered self-sustaining, meaning no captive-bred ferrets are needed to maintain a population. The ferret reintroduction crew documented 116 individual ferrets in 2011 and 52 during the 2012 spring effort.
“We’re proud of what we’ve accomplished in Arizona,” Pebworth said. “We’re restoring an animal that was absent from the state for about 65 years. It’s gratifying to know we’ve reached a point with this reintroduction where the population has continued to improve.”
Volunteers earn the right to brag about their participation, aiding in the recovery of an animal few have ever seen. They can also witness the processing of the animals, which allow researchers to understand population, longevity, and movement throughout the range.
“This is a unique experience and provides volunteers an opportunity to see the amount of effort involved with this reintroduction,” Pebworth said.
Those wishing to volunteer, or needing more information, should e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org by September 21 with “September Spotlighting” in the subject line. Individuals should indicate which night(s) they are available to help; include a first and last name, a contact number, and if anyone else will be attending with them.
“We’ve made progress,” Pebworth said. “However, it is critical we continue to document ferret numbers and understand how this population is holding up in the wild.”
Photo by Dan Mushrush
Get your tackle ready because according to the Arizona Game and Fish Department, urban trout fishing season officially kicks off tomorrow, November 17.
In just a single day, the AZGFD will be stocking 12,000 rainbow trout into the 21 Urban Program lakes in the Phoenix and Tucson Areas.
“We’ll be stocking trout averaging from 11-to-12-inches long at rates of 80-to-100-fish per lake surface acre,” explained Urban Fishing Program Manager Eric Swanson.
Fish deliveries will occur throughout the day starting from early morning well into the afternoon.
Trout stockings will continue at two-week intervals throughout the next four months.
Don’t forget that the 2011 Class U Urban Fishing license is now 50 percent off for the last two months of the year. Stop by a Game and Fish office or any of our sporting goods or retail license dealers and ask for your 2011 discount Urban Fishing license for $9.25.
November fishing is excellent at Urban Program lakes with catfish, bluegill, bass and rainbow trout stockings all taking place in recent weeks.
As of Thursday, trout fishing should be good to excellent for anglers using scented dough baits (such as Power Bait), worms or small trout lures. Plus, catfish action is fair to good after four successful fall stockings loaded up the lakes. Don’t ignore the plentiful bluegill.
>>Flickr pic by dmushrush