Fire Restrictions

Stage II Fire Restrictions implemented May 4. No Campfires. No smoking except in enclosed vehicles and buildings. No chainsaw use.  No explosives, fireworks, tracer rounds or tannerite. See below for the full list of prohibited activities.  

Forest-wide Campfire Restrictions, and Area or Forest Closures (Protocol and Processes)

The Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests is a cooperator of the White Mountain Fire Restrictions Coordination Group. This group also consists of Bureau of Indian Affairs, Navajo and Apache Counties, Northern AZ Fire Chiefs Association, Northern AZ Police Chiefs Association, National Park Service, and AZ Department of Forestry. Representatives from this group meet once a week or more if needed, at the beginning and throughout fire season to decide on when/if/what level of fire restrictions will be implemented. Decisions are based on a multitude of considerations such as, but not limited to: 7 day weather outlook, monthly weather outlook, availability of wildland fire resources, how many fires are occurring, and current fire danger. As soon as the group decides fire restrictions should be implemented, the public and fire managers will be notified, and the same restrictions will be implemented across the White Mountains.

Fire Restriction Stages Explained

Fire Restrictions come in different stages and become more prohibitive with each stage. Most forests begin by implementing a Stage I Restriction and if conditions worsen, Stage II is implemented. There is no "Stage III" when conditions worsen further. Instead, a forest closure is usually the next step which means the public is not allowed to enter the boundaries of the national forest due to the fire danger.

Area Closures Implemented to Protect Values at Risk of Wildfire 

Springerville, AZ—May 22, 2018—For Immediate Release- Due to increasing drought conditions, very high fire danger and public safety concerns, the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests (ASNFs) has implemented four area closures across the forest. Areas outside of the closures with remain in Stage II Fire Restrictions. Full News Release will links to area closure maps. 

Stage I Restrictions

What is Prohibited:

  1. No building, maintaining, attending, or using a fire, campfire, charcoal, coal or wood stove, except in designated developed recreation sites.
  2. No smoking except in an enclosed vehicle or building.  
  3. No welding or operating acetylene or other torch with open flame.
  4. No fireworks, explosives or tracer rounds are permitted on national forest lands at any time.

What is Allowed:

Petroleum-fueled stoves, lanterns, or heating devices providing such devices meet the fire underwriter’s specification for safety, can be turned on/off and operated in areas that are barren or cleared of all overhead and surrounding flammable materials within 3 feet of the device.

  • Shooting firearms IS allowed. Just make sure to follow normal federal rules: No shooting within a ¼ mile of a campsite, developed recreation site or occupied area, residence or building; No shooting across a road, trail or body of water, or in any manner or place whereby any person property is exposed to injury or damage as a result of such discharge; No shooting in a cave.  With any tracer bullet or incendiary ammunition.

YouTube video explanation of Stage I Restrictions!

Stage II Restrictions Forest Order 

What is Prohibited:

  1. Building, maintaining, attending or using a fire, campfire, charcoal, coal, or wood stove fire. Devices fueled solely by liquid petroleum or LPG fuels that can be turned on and off are the exception. Such devices can only be used in an area that is barren or cleared of all overhead and surrounding flammable materials within three feet of the device.
  2. Smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle or building.
  3. Using an explosive.
  4. Discharging a firearm, except while engaged in a lawful hunt pursuant to state, federal, or tribal laws and regulations or in an agency designated shooting range.  
  5. Possessing, discharging or using any type of firework or pyrotechnic device.
  6. Welding or operating acetylene or other torches with an open flame.
  7. Operating or using any internal combustion engines, this includes chainsaws. Generators are allowed as long as they have an approved spark arresting device and are used within an enclosed vehicle or building or in an area that is completely cleared of all overhead and surrounding flammable materials within three feet of the generator.
  8. Possessing or using a motor vehicle off National Forest System roads, except when parking in an area devoid of vegetation within 10 feet of the roadway.

What is Allowed:

  • Petroleum-fueled stoves, lanterns, or heating devices providing such devices meet the fire underwriter’s specification for safety, can be turned on/off and operated in areas that are barren or cleared of all overhead and surrounding flammable materials within 3 feet of the device.  You may use a generator as long as you have cleared flammable material at least 3 feet around it or it is enclosed in your vehicle (such as the rear portion of an RV or pickup).

 

Some important points as to why we implement fire restrictions

  • The number one reason is to protect human life, property and our natural resources. The smallest spark can turn our dry forest into a dangerous wildfire that can threaten lives and property.
  • We use certain criteria to determine what stage of fire restrictions to implement, which includes current and predicted weather, how many resources we have available to fight fires, fuel moisture in the forest, fire behavior and containment challenges, as well as several others.
  • Regardless of what level of fire restrictions we implement, not all fires can be prevented. Fires start from careless forest users, lightning, and inadvertent human-causes. We live in a fire-adapted ecosystem which depends on fire for its health, so it's never a question of if a wildfire will start, but when and how we will be able to respond to it.

Red Flag Warning

Red Flag Warning is a term used by fire weather forecasters to alert fire personnel and the public of potential extreme and critical fire weather due to high winds and low relative humidity. Only the National Weather Service can issue Red Flag Warnings.

Warnings are issued one 24 hour period at a time, have a beginning and end time, and are issued only when ALL the following three criteria are met:

  1. Wind speeds are expected to exceed 20mph.
  2. Relative humidity is 15% or lower.
  3. Fire danger rating of High, Very High, or Extreme.

To find out if it’s a Red Flag Day: Call Show Low Dispatch Center (928) 532-2700 or visit the NOAA's weather alert page. 

Prohibited activities on Red Flag Warning Days include Forest Order 01-18-004:

  1. Building, maintaining, or attending a fire or campfire. *Propane heating and cooking devices are permissible.
  2. Smoking outside a vehicle or a building.
  3. Vehicle use off roads or trails.
  4. Driving a vehicle without an approved spark arresting device.
  5. Operating an internal combustion engine (unless the equipment has an approved spark arresting device AND is in an area completely devoid of vegetation) i.e. chainsaws, generators, hot saws, skidders, and other recreational or industrial equipment.
  6. Welding, or operating an acetylene or other torch with an open flame.

If you’re not sure if it’s a Red Flag Warning Day, error on the side of caution by avoiding all prohibited activities.

Sometimes there are no fire restrictions on the national forests, but there is a Red Flag Warning in effect. In this scenario, folks would not be able to have a campfire or charcoal fire. The only scenario visitors can have fires without any prohibitions is when there is no Red Flag Warning and no fire restrictions.  

It’s your responsibility to know before you go!

 



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