Fire Restriction Stages Explained

Fire Danger & Management | Fire Restriction Stages Explained

 

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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. Stage III is when conditions worsen further and a forest closure is implemented-- which means the public is not allowed to enter the boundaries of the national forest due to the danger.

 

Stage I Restrictions

Stage I fire restrictions flyerWhat is Prohibited:

  • Building, maintaining, attending, or using a fire, campfire, or stove fire.
  • Smoking, except in an enclosed vehicle or building, or in developed recreation sites, or while stopped in an area at least 3 feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of all flammable material.

What is Allowed:

  • Petroleum-fueled stoves or grills with heat/flame sources that can be turned off immediately.
  • A stove fire in a designated area.
  • Shooting firearms IS allowed. Just make sure to follow normal federal rules: No shooting within a 150 yards 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.
  • Chainsaw use IS allowed. However, please use caution and keep from creating sparks by not cutting directly on the ground where the chain can contact rocks while rotating.

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Stage II Restrictions

Flyer for Stage II Fire RestrictionsWhat is Prohibited:

  • Building, maintaining, attending, or using a fire, campfire, or stove fire.
  • Smoking, except in an enclosed vehicle or building, or in developed recreation sites, or while stopped in an area at least 3 feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of any flammable material.
  • Welding or operating an acetylene or other torch with open flame.
  • Operating a chainsaw or any other equipment powered by an internal combustion engine between the hours of 9 a.m to 8 p.m.
Exemptions:
  • Using a stove or grill that is solely fueled by liquid petroleum or liquid petroleum gas (LPG) fuels.
  • Persons with a Forest Service permit specifically exempting them from the prohibitions.
  • Any Federal, State, or local officer, or member of an organized rescue or firefighting force in the performance of official duty.
  • Persons operating generators with an approved spark arresting device in an area that is barren or cleared of all overhead and surrounding flammable materials within 3 feet of the generator.
  • Shooting firearms IS allowed. Just make sure to follow normal federal rules: No shooting within a 150 yards 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.

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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. Additional details, protocols and processes are available.
  • 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.

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The Law and Penalties

Arizona Collateral Schedule Field Guide (36 CFR 261, Subpart A) This field guide outlines prohibitions and penalties for violations of those prohibitions. Section 261.52 covers the penalties for violating specific prohibitions when Forest Order fire restrictions are in place.

See Forest Orders to check if current fire restrictions are in effect or contact one of our offices for information.

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Additional Resources and Information

Coconino National Forest Information

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https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/coconino/home/?cid=stelprdb5423784