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home : opinions : editorials October 4, 2015

5/28/2013 10:16:00 AM
Editorial: It's fire season. Be careful.
Williams-Grand Canyon News

Fire season is here. Dry conditions prevail on the Kaibab and Coconino Forests. The Kaibab put fire restrictions in place last week. Please obey all fire restrictions. The Forest Service only allows campfires in developed campgrounds.

And for good reason.

A fire would devastate our area and change Williams forever. In October 2009, we all watched helplessly as the Twin Fire burned more than 900 acres on Bill Williams Mountain - a scene no one wants to see again. If Bill Williams Mountain burned, we would lose our watershed, not to mention the beauty of Kaibab National Forest.

Unfortunately, fire season is here. Winds, drought and high temperatures combined can create extremely dry conditions in Arizona's forests. It only takes one act of carelessness resulting in a fire that could change our forest forever. We encourage everyone to remain extremely cautious while visiting our forest.

Chainsaws, broken glass, discarded cigarettes, fireworks, abandoned campfires, catalytic converters and the discharging of firearms are all known causes of wildfire. People should report wildfires by calling 911.

Fire restrictions can change often. Before you go camping or picnicking, know what the fire restrictions are in the area you will be visiting by calling the Fire Restriction Hotline toll free at (877) 864-6985. Fire restrictions vary throughout the state. Starting May 22, the Forest Service implemented restrictions limiting fires to established campgrounds.

Whatever restrictions are in place, always remember to -

• Never leave any fire unattended and do not leave until the fire is out cold.

• Parking or pausing a vehicle in tall grass or over shrubs can start fires. Never park where vegetation is touching the underside of your vehicle. Should you merely pause, look behind your vehicle as you leave. Grass burns quickly and can turn into a wall of flames in minutes.

• Remain aware of all smoking restrictions when recreating on public lands. Treat a burning cigarette as if it were a small fire ready to become larger. Cigarettes are made to burn a long time, and slowly.

Fire restrictions and some closures can change on a daily basis. Prior to visiting an area, it is always best to call ahead for up-to-date information. The latest fire restriction information can be found at www.azfireinfo.az.gov. Fire restriction information can also be obtained by calling the Williams-Forest Service Visitor Center at (928) 635-1418.

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