We're In This Together Arizona! Do Your Part to Prevent Wildfires
Updated: Jan 5
Winds, prolonged drought, and high temperatures have combined to make Arizona's forests and desert areas EXTREMELY dry. Long term drought, changing fuel conditions and the resulting unpredictable fire behavior, combined with increased human activity suggest that this has the potential to be a busy fire year. Conditions change; for your safety, stay informed on current and predicted conditions in your community, and when you are enjoying the outdoors.
Warn others of potential dangers and behaviors that may start wildfires.
THINK BEFORE YOU ACT!
It only takes one spark on dry grass, leaves, branches or pine needles to start a wildfire. Even live trees and brush are dry enough to easily ignite.
Wildfires impact recreation areas and may destroy homes and cabins, and threaten lives.
The most common causes of wildfires in Arizona are dragging trailer safety chains, rims from flat tires striking pavement, vehicles parking or driving over dry vegetation, carelesssly tossed cigarettes, abandoned campfires, equipment use and debris buring around homes and property, fireworks, and the discharge of firearms in areas with dry vegetation.
REPORT ALL WILDFIRES TO 911
We offer the following tips to help ensure that unwanted person caused wildfires are kept to a minimum:
CAMPING AND PICNICKING
Know BEFORE You Go! Check for Fire Restrictions.
Due to critically dry conditions historically typical of late April or May many areas of Arizona will implement seasonal fire restrictions and typically rescind those seasonal restrictions in September or October. This is variable as some years conditions may be outside historical normals. Land managers monitor local conditions with regularity and implement regulations as needed.
Fire restrictions vary across management areas, but most mean that no open fires are allowed except in established developed campgrounds with built in fire grills or pits (Stage 1). Some areas may prohibited all fires except gas or propane camp stoves (Stage1 and Stage 2). Under extreme conditions some areas may restrict all types of flame and implement area closures to protects critical infrastructure, watersheds, and communities.
Check the weather and plan accordingly.
Take plenty of water for cooking, drinking AND putting out your campfire*. *When and where permitted.
Choose and area cleared to mineral soil and free of overhanging or surrounding vegetation.
NEVER BURN WHEN WINDY
NEVER LEAVE YOUR FIRE UNATTENDED
IF IT'S TOO HOT TO TOUCH, IT'S TOO HOT TO LEAVE!
Grass burns quickly and dry, windy conditions can turn into a wall of flames in minutes.
Pausing or parking a car or truck in tall grass or over shrubs can start fires. This not only may damage your vehicle but may also start a quickly moving fire. Do not park where vegetation is touching the underside of your vehicle. Also be sure that all vehicles and tires are in excellent working order; safety chains or other trailer equipment must not drag or dangle; these can get hot or create sparks causing not just one but multiple wildfires. Look behind you as your driving to make sure all is well. It's always a good idea to carry a fire extinguisher. ADOT Video: One Less Spark, One Less Wildfire: Vehicle Safety Fire Prevention Tips BLM Arizona Video: The Details Matter - Check Chains BLM Arizona Video: Prevent Vehicle Caused Wildfires Six Ways Vehicles Start Wildfires Private OUTDOOR and BACKYARD BURNING Burning in and around your home or property is one of the top most common ways wildfires start in Arizona.
Plan ahead. Apply for an open burn permit from Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ)
Check for area Fire Restrictions as well as ADEQ "No Burn Days"
Check the weather. NEVER burn when extremely dry, windy, or when high winds are expected.
Burn dry, natural vegetation, grown on the property, unless prohibited by local ordinances. Household trash, plastic or tires are not good to burn and are illegal to burn in some areas. Check your local ordinances.
Choose a safe burning site. Check that it is away from powerlines, overhanging limbs, buildings, vehicles, and equipment. You’ll need at least three times the height of the pile of vertical clearance.
Look around. The site should be surrounded by gravel or mineral soil (dirt) at least 10 feet in all directions. Keep the surroundings watered down during the burn and have a shovel, water source, or fire extinguisher close by.
If using a burn barrel, make sure it’s made entirely of metal, properly equipped (at least three evenly-spaced, three-inch, screened vents and metal top screen) and in good condition.
NEVER leave your burn pile or barrel unattended. Always stay with your fire until it is completely out. Drown the fire with water, turn over the ashes with a shovel and drown it again. Repeat several times.
EQUIPMENT USE Sparks from mowers, chainsaws, welding torches, and other equipment can cause
Check your lawn and property for large rocks before mowing. Mower blades striking rocks can create a spark.
Use a string trimmer in high grass and weeds or where numerous rocks are present.
Use and maintain spark arresters on motorized equipment including chain saws, ATVs, and motorcycles.
Refrain from welding and use of activities or equipment that may create a spark when fire danger is high.
Follow fire restrictions and closures--in some areas and/or when extreme fire conditions are present chainsaws or small combustion engines may not be allowed.
SMOKING A burning cigarette is a small fire ready to become a larger one.
Cigarettes are made to burn long and slowly and can start fires even hours after being dropped or thrown away.
Never walk off and leave a burning cigarette and be aware of all smoking restrictions when recreating on public lands.
Never throw a cigarette out a vehicle window. Extinguish and dispose of appropriately.
The use of fireworks, explosives, and exploding targets is NOT permitted on federal or state managed public lands throughout the entire state.
Sparks from fireworks can cause wildfires in dry vegetation.
Many cities and towns in Arizona have individual regulations that restrict the use of fireworks. Check County and/or Municipal regulations BEFORE you purchase or use fireworks.
If you purchase fireworks ensure they meet State standards and used in an area clear in at least a 10' radius of any flammable materials and you have water and/or a fire extinguisher available.
Some towns and cities host fireworks displays as part of their holiday celebrations. We recommend you leave the fireworks to the professionals. Please check your local newspaper for times and locations. TARGET SHOOTING
During dry and hot weather conditions the use of certain ammunition and targets could ignite a wildfire. Target shooters and hunters, as well as other outdoor enthusiasts, need to consider the potential consequences of their activities in fire-prone environments. Here are some tips and reminders: Shooting of exploding targets and tracer ammunition is prohibited on federally and state managed public lands in Arizona year-round.
Make it a point to know the regulations and rules related to shooting in areas experiencing dry and hot conditions, whether on public or private land or at shooting ranges. Many federal managed public lands, for example, do not allow recreational shooting when fire restrictions are in effect.
Consider the type of ammunition and targets you are using. Minimize the risk of fires by not using steeljacketed ammunition, ammunition with steel-core components.
Check for Fire Restrictions.
Fire restrictions vary, some areas may restrict target shooting outside of participating in a lawful hunt. In Arizona, many areas will initiate fire restrictions due to extremely dry conditions, typically in late April or May and typically rescind those seasonal restrictions in September or October. This is seasonally variable. Fire Restrictions Website
HOMES AND PROPERTY To a wildfire, your house or cabin, if built of flammable materials, is only fuel. Wildfires do not discriminate between trees and homes--if it's flammable it will burn. You can take steps to protect your home from a wildfire's flames. These simple steps to create defensible space, an area around your building that discourages fire from coming too near, will give your home a fighting chance, not IF but WHEN wildfires occur. Slope, vegetation types, planting design, location of outbuildings all affect a wildfire's ability to reach your home. Defensible space can be created in many ways. For example you can:
plant fire resistant plants
space plants to slow the spread of fire from plant to plant
place wood piles and wooden picnic tables well away from buildings
keep roofs free of needles and leaves
screen openings under decks and attic and foundation vents
Ready, Set, Go! Ready, Set, Go! is a nationwide program adopted by the 15 Arizona Sheriffs that educates residents about proactive measures to take before an emergency and actions to follow when communities are threatened. The three steps encourage Arizonans to get READY by preparing now for what threatens their community, be SET by maintaining awareness of significant danger and to GO, evacuate immediately when the danger is current and life-threatening. Visit https://ein.az.gov/ready-set-go to learn more. Register for your County Emergency Notification System. Many Arizona counties and tribes have a system in place designed to quickly notify an affected area of an emergency by sending a voice or text message to you. Click a link below to sign up for emergency alerts in your area KIDS CAN HELP PREVENT WILDFIRE You are never too old or too young to help prevent wildfires - [for the most part]. Here are some helpful tips for those young and old.
Never play with matches, lighters, flammable liquids, or fire
Tell friends about fire prevention and share knowledge about what to do in a fire emergency
Stay calm during an emergency and listening to the instructions given by parents by remember assigned meeting place and by come promptly upon hearing the signal
Keep toys, bikes and belongings out of the driveway so firefighters and their equipment can come through during a fire emergency
Learn More and Take the Pledge to Prevent Wildfires, Visit : SmokeyBear.com