Fire Danger and Management Information

Image of prescribed burn on Anderson Mesa

Table of Contents


Permanent Fire Restrictions In Place 24/7/365

As a reminder, fireworks are never allowed on national forest lands. Please see Forest Orders: Fire Restrictions for a complete list of restrictions. The following are areas where permanent fire restrictions exists at all times of the year and where campfires are never allowed--regardless of whether or not the national forest is in some type of restriction or not:

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

The Coconino National Forest uses the National Fire Danger Rating System (NFDRS) to assist in determining Preparedness Levels and when Campfire and Smoking restrictions may be implemented. Using this tool helps Fire Managers to identify critical times when fires can become difficult to control.

Campfire and Smoking restriction discussions between adjacent National Forests, National Parks, State Agencies and the National Weather Service generally begins in mid-April depending on forest conditions and weather forecasts. A review of operating plans, weather trends and forest conditions defines when the need for fire restrictions will be applied. These key questions and weather parameters are addressed during these discussions and are defined in the following narrative...

Learn more about the process of determining the need for restrictions and closures.

For information about current restrictions, call the Fire Restrictions Hotline: 928-226-4607‚Äč


Industrial Plan Descriptions

  • A: Normal Fire Precautions - No fire guard required except for welding and blasting operations.
  • B: Normal Fire Precautions - Authorized user will provide fire guard.
  • C: All power equipment use as well as blasting and welding operations will shut down from 9 a.m. until 8 p.m. Mountain Standard Time (10 a.m. to 9 p.m. MDT). Operations on mineral soil involving activities such as road excavation, watering, grading, surfacing, rock crushing, and/or other equipment may continue. Authorized user will provide fire guard.
  • D: Shut down all operations; except operations on mineral soil involving road excavation, watering, grading, surfacing, and rock crushing may continue with special Forest Service permit. Blasting and welding are prohibited. Authorized user will provide fire guard.


Typical Fire Precaution Measure Stages

Staged Restriction Levels

Industrial Fire Plan

  No Restrictions


  Stage 1


  Stage 2


  Partial/Forest Closure*


  Red Flag Warning (as issued by NWS)


* Partial Forest Closure:

Project areas which are outside the boundaries of the partial forest closure may continue to operate under Industrial Fire Plan "C" operating criteria as agreed upon between the Permit Administrator and Purchaser in writing.

Project areas within the boundaries of the proclaimed partial forest closure area are to operate under Industrial Plan "D".

Staged restrictions levels are determined by the appropriate Forest Line Officer in consultation with the Forest Fire Management Officer and Permit Administrator. The appropriate Forest Line Officer may adjust the predicted Industrial Plan for local weather conditions within a Project Area. Changes in the predicted Industrial Plan shall be agreed to in writing.


Fire Danger Levels Explained

Colors for the Fire Danger RatingWhat are the different levels and what do they mean?

We use 5 different color-coded levels to help the public understand fire potential.  The purpose of this is for visitors to understand the current conditions and help mitigate their actions to prevent human-caused wildfires. 

  • Fire Danger Level: LOW

When the fire danger is "Low," it means that fuels do not ignite easily from small embers, but a more intense heat source, such as lightning, may start fires in duff or dry rotten wood.  Fires in open, dry grasslands may burn easily a few hours after a rain, but most wood fires will spread slowly, creeping or smoldering.  Control of fires is generally easy.

  • Fire Danger Level: MODERATE

When the fire danger is "Moderate," it means that fires can start from most accidental causes, but the number of fire starts is usually pretty low.  If a fire does start in an open, dry grassland, it will burn and spread quickly on windy days.  Most wood fires will spread slowly to moderately.  Average fire intensity will be moderate except in heavy concentrations of fuel, which may burn hot.  Fires are still not likely to become serious and are often easy to control.

  • Fire Danger Level: HIGH

When the fire danger is "High," fires can start easily from most causes, and small fuels (such as grasses and needles) will ignite readily.  Unattended campfires and brush fires are likely to escape.  Fires will spread easily, with some areas of high-intensity burning on slopes or concentrated fuels.  Fires can become serious and difficult to control unless they are put out while they are still small.

  • Fire Danger Level: VERY HIGH

When the fire danger is "Very High," fires will start easily from most causes.  The fires will spread rapidly and have a quick increase in intensity, right after ignition.  Small fires can quickly become large fires and exhibit extreme fire intensity, such as long-distance spotting and fire whirls.  These fires can be difficult to control and will often become much larger and longer-lasting fires.

  • Fire Danger Level: EXTREME

When the fire danger is "Extreme," fires of all types start quickly and burn intensely.  All fires are potentially serious and can spread very quickly with intense burning.  Small fires become big fires much faster than at the "Very High" level.  Spot fires are probable, with long-distance spotting likely.  These fires are very difficult to fight and may become very dangerous and often last for several days or weeks.


How To Report a Wildfire

As visitation increases on the Coconino National Forest, officials ask for continued cooperation in preventing wildfires. Residents and visitors are being extra vigilant for fire safety. Here are some tips on how to report a fire.

  • Call 911.

  • Provide your name and phone number in case we need to call you back.

  • Provide your location as specifically as possible. Refer to Forest Road numbers, estimated mileage from main road intersections and/or geographic landmarks. Example: I’m on Forest Road 171 about a mile south of the junction with Forest Road 245.

  • Describe what you observe, and if any people and vehicles are in the area.

  • Don’t put yourself at risk. You’ve done your civic duty by reporting the fire. Leave the fire-fighting to the professionals and move a safe distance away.



Recent Type I Wildfires on the Coconino National Forest

Tinder FireTinder Fire (2018)

The Tinder Fire was sparked by an illegal campfire during Stage I fire restrictions following an extremely dry winter and spring. The fire began east of C.C. Cragin Reservoir in East Clear Creek, grew quickly and destroyed 33 residences and 54 minor structures...

Learn more about the 2018 Tinder Fire.

Slide FireSlide Fire (2014)

The Slide Fire was human caused and began north of Slide Rock State Park in Oak Creek Canyon on May 20, 2014. It burned 21,227 acres through the canyon and on top of the Mogollon Rim. Luckily, no structures or residences were lost...

Learn more about the 2014 Slide Fire.

Smoke rises from the Schultz Fire June 20 at 1:30 p.m.Schultz Fire (2010)

The Schultz Fire was started by an abandoned campfire near Schultz Tank north of Flagstaff on June 20, 2010. It burned approximately 15,000 acres along the eastern slopes of the San Francisco Peaks, west of Highway 89. Due to the quick response and hard work of firefighters, no structures or residences were lost...

Learn more about the 2010 Schultz Fire.



Southwest Coordination Center

[graphic] SWCC LogoFor current wildland fire information in the southwest visit SWCC. The Southwest Coordination Center is the interagency focal point for coordinating the mobilization of resources between the twelve Federal and State Dispatch Centers of the Southwest Area and, when necessary, the National Coordination Center in Boise, ID, for assignment throughout the nation. Located in Albuquerque, NM, the SWCC mobilizes resources for wildland fire, prescribed fire, and other all-risk incidents. Arizona Interagency Wildfire Prevention and Information Website will have information specific to Arizona.



Additional Resources and Information

Coconino National Forest

Regional and State-wide Information

Fire Restrictions Information For Other Agency Lands

General Information

  • Wildfire Smoke - A Guide for Public Officials: Guide to help local public health officials prepare for smoke events, take measures to to protect the public when smoke is present, and communicate with the public about wildfire smoke and health.

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