Forest Service lifts fire restrictions
WILLIAMS, Ariz. - Due to significant and widespread rain and rapidly decreasing fire danger, the Coconino and Kaibab National Forests in northern Arizona lifted all fire restrictions on July 8.
Managers typically lift fire restrictions when at least a half inch of precipitation has been received over more than two-thirds of the forests. To date, many areas of both forests have received double that amount of precipitation, with an inch or more of rain being reported in many locations. Fire danger decreased dramatically from "extreme" the first week of July to "moderate" last week.
Besides lifting all fire restrictions, the Kaibab National Forest also reopened the Bill Williams Mountain Watershed on the Williams Ranger District July 8, which had been closed to public entry due to wildfire risk. The Coconino National Forest is evaluating conditions in Fossil Creek and will make a determination later this week about the appropriate time to reopen the area.
"With the onset of the monsoon season, the low number of human-caused fire starts, and the availability of many firefighting resources, we are comfortable that it is the appropriate time to lift fire restrictions," said Holly Kleindienst, deputy fire staff officer for the Kaibab National Forest. "Fire restrictions were extremely effective this year in reducing the number of fires caused by people. We are thankful to our visitors for their help in preventing fires by complying with the restrictions that were in effect."
The two forests initially implemented campfire and smoking restrictions on April 18. This was relatively early but was necessary due to a dry winter and impacts of long-term drought on the forests. Additional fire restrictions and area closures were implemented as the forests faced increasing levels of fire danger through the spring and summer.
While all fire restrictions were lifted July 8, forest visitors are always expected to use caution with campfires and other potential ignition sources. More information on preventing human-caused fires is available at www.wildlandfire.az.gov. People can also learn how to reduce the risk of damage from wildfire to homes and communities by visiting www.fireadapted.org. Additional information is available at www.fs.usda.gov/coconino or www.fs.usda.gov/kaibab.
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