The Maricopa County Parks and Recreation Department recently initiated its annual fire ban.
“This season, the department is aligning its annual fire ban with the burn activity regulations enforced by the county’s Air Quality Department. Under these regulations, the use of outdoor recreational fires is prohibited until September 30 within the boundaries of Area A, which includes all of our regional parks,” says R.J. Cardin, Maricopa County Parks and Recreation Department director.
With 86% of the state experiencing extreme drought conditions, the vegetation in the parks is extremely dry and ideal for wildfire ignition. As temperatures continue to rise, fuel levels such as dried grasses, brush, and fallen leaves will continue to increase. The implementation of a fire ban is initiated to limit the possibility of starting a brush fire, which could cause serious damage to park resources and park visitor safety.
It is also important to note that during this time of year, the National Weather Service often issues red flag warnings across central Arizona to alert land management agencies that conditions are ideal for wildfire ignition. Should this occur before the fire ban goes into effect, park supervisors have been authorized to issue temporary fire bans to ensure public safety and protect the park’s resources.
When temporary fire bans are issued, the information will be posted on the website, and park visitors will be notified as they enter the park. The parks will also stop selling firewood during this time.
The fire ban includes the use of campfires, fire pits, and charcoal grills; however, it is still acceptable to use gas/propane grills in designated areas such as the semi-developed and developed camping sites. Campfires along the shoreline at Lake Pleasant Regional Park are prohibited. Those who violate the fire ban may be fined.
Smoking in the parks is still permissible, however it is discouraged due to the extremely dry conditions. If you must smoke, please be responsible and ensure that all cigarettes are properly extinguished and placed in trash receptacles.
While September 30 has been identified as the fire ban lift date, there is a possibility the fire ban could be extended. Park staff will monitor precipitation levels and vegetation conditions in the parks throughout the summer to determine if an extension is necessary.
Contact the Maricopa County Parks and Recreation Department at 602-506-2930 or visit maricopacountyparks.net/ for additional information.