Information and Photo Courtesy of the City of Phoenix
The Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department has put into effect its annual ban of open fires in the city’s desert parks and mountain preserves. The Maricopa County Parks and Recreation Department’s annual fire ban is also now in effect.
In consultation with the Phoenix Fire Department, smoking and charcoal fires are included in the ban due to the extreme fire danger that the combination of low humidity, increased temperatures, excessive dry vegetation, and frequent high winds create each spring.
The ban applies to Camelback Mountain, Deem Hills Recreation Area, Lookout Mountain, Papago Park, Phoenix Mountains Park and Recreation Area, Phoenix Mountains Preserve, Phoenix Sonoran Preserve, North Mountain Park, Rio Salado Habitat Restoration Area, and South Mountain Park/Preserve. The ban does not apply to the city’s flatland parks.
For those using the city’s desert parks and preserve land, the fire ban stipulates the following:
• Open wood and charcoal fires are prohibited.
• Propane or gas grills may be used, but only in established picnic areas.
• Smoking outside enclosed vehicles is prohibited year-round.
• Fireworks are prohibited year-round.
Motorists traveling through or near Phoenix’s desert parks and mountain preserves should use extreme care with smoking materials and dispose of those only in their vehicle’s ash tray.
To protect their homes, residents whose property borders the city’s preserve land may remove dry shrubs, brush and grasses, and trim dead branches from trees within the 10-foot strip of land that borders their property. By creating this 10-foot “buffer zone,” residents can help to protect their homes from potential brush fires in the adjacent preserve land.
Preserve neighbors also should check irrigation lines and pool back-flush hoses to ensure that water is not seeping into the preserve. Outside water sources encourage unnaturally dense vegetation growth, which increases fire risk.
For general information regarding removing vegetation, residents can contact a Phoenix Park Ranger at 602-495-5458 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Other Precautions to Take as Temperatures Rise
As the temperature increases and humidity drops this time of year, those utilizing the city’s desert parks and mountain preserves should use extra caution. Heat-related illness is common from May to October, and generally occurs because the victim has been overexposed to heat or overexerted their body based on physical condition or age.
The Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department and Phoenix Fire Department remind trail users to “Take a Hike. Do it Right.” when enjoying the city’s desert parks and mountain preserves. This includes watching the weather, dressing appropriately, bringing plenty of water and staying hydrated, carrying a mobile phone to keep in contact, teaming up with others, being honest about medical conditions, not going off of marked trails, and being prepared for emergencies.
For the safety of pets, dogs are prohibited on any city of Phoenix trail when the temperature is 100 degrees or warmer. The Arizona Humane Society advises that temperatures in the 90s are also unsafe for pets to be outdoors.
Detailed information about Phoenix’s 41,000-plus acres of desert parks and mountain preserves, and 200-plus miles of trails, is available at Phoenix.gov/Parks.