Fire danger in the Southwest has gotten so bad that a ban on campfires is being implemented in a handful of national park units, including Saguaro National Park and Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument.
Other units affected are Coronado National Memorial, Chiricahua National Monument, Fort Bowie National Historic Site, and Tumacácori National Historical Park.
Until rescinded, the following are prohibited:
* Building, maintaining, attending, or using a fire, campfire, charcoal, coal, or wood stove, including fires in developed campgrounds or improved sites.
* Smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle or building.
* Discharging a firearm except while engaged in a lawful hunt pursuant to state, federal, or tribal laws and regulations.
* Operating any internal combustion engine, except operating motorized vehicles on designated roads so long as you park in an area devoid of vegetation within 10 feet of the roadway.
* Welding, or operating acetylene or other torches with an open flame.
* Using an explosive. (Fireworks are always prohibited year-round on federal lands.)
Violation of restrictions on federal lands is punishable as a Class B misdemeanor, which includes a fine of not more than $5,000 for an individual and up to $10,000 for organizations and possible imprisonment for not more than six (6) months or both. Violators may also be held personally responsible for reimbursement of fire suppression costs. Arizona and New Mexico state laws carry similar penalties.
Pressurized liquid or gas stoves, lanterns and heaters possessing shut-off devices are allowed. When using a portable stove, make sure the area is clear of grasses and other fine fuels. Prevent stoves from tipping and starting a fire.
Cigarettes should never be thrown out the window of a vehicle. Instead, ashtrays should be used in order to prevent wildfires.
Never park a vehicle over dead grass; the catalytic converter can ignite the vegetation.
Fire conditions as well as localized closures and restrictions are subject to change. Because tribal, federal, state, and local mandates are different, they may have some differences in their restriction notices.
For a more detailed explanation concerning agency restrictions and fire information in general, please contact the nearest land management agency office where you plan to work or play, visit http://wildlandfire.az.gov or call the toll-free Southwest Fire Restrictions Hotline at 1-877-864-6985.