Local

July 26, 2013

Monsoon arrives, local fire restrictions eased

Scout reports

Due to the arrival of sufficient monsoon rains, Fort Huachuca joins the Bureau of Land Management Gila District, the Coronado National Forest, Saguaro National Park, Coronado National Memorial, Chiricahua National Monument, Fort Bowie National Historic Site, Tumacácori National Historical Park, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument and the Arizona State Forestry Division in lifting all fire restrictions in southeastern Arizona. Because of widespread precipitation across the area, additional rain in the weather forecast and a rise in fuel moistures, fire officials have rescinded restrictions.

“The fire restrictions on and off post changed from ‘very high’ to ‘moderate,’” said Dan Ortega, director, Directorate of Emergency Services. Fire personnel have already changed signage on Fort Huachuca to reflect this change, and arrows now point to the ‘blue’ color on the ‘fire danger’ signs, meaning that restrictions are currently limited to area and weather conditions.

According to a Fort Huachuca information paper on installation fire restrictions published April 8, the fire danger index provides a measure of the chance of a fire starting in a particular fuel, its rate of spread, intensity, and its difficulty to suppress based on various combinations of temperature, relative humidity, wind speed and drought effects.

In “low” and “moderate” fire conditions, fires can start, but because of moisture within available fuels, they most likely will be slow, creeping fires of low intensity.

Although fire restrictions have been lifted, visitors should continue to practice fire safety.

Check with public land management agencies for fire regulations, restrictions or area closures before going hiking or camping.

When available, use metal fire rings or grills. Wood used for fires should never exceed the size of the grill or fire ring.

Where permitted, if building a fire on the ground, select a location well away from adjoining or overhanging flammable material. Clear the ground beneath the burn area as well as around it. Avoid lighting fires on windy days or use a propane grill or stove for cooking instead of an open flame.

Fully extinguish campfires before leaving the area. Douse them with water and stir them with a shovel until the ground is cold to the touch.

If using a portable stove, ensure the area around it is clear of grasses and other fine fuels. Prevent stoves from tipping and starting a fire.

Never throw cigarettes out of the window of a vehicle. Prevent wildfires by using ashtrays.

Practice “Leave No Trace” principles. Along with trash, pack out cigarette butts and burned materials from your campsite.

Never park a vehicle over dead grass; because the catalytic converter can ignite the vegetation.

Use caution while discharging a firearm, operating an internal combustion engine, welding, or operating acetylene or other torches with an open flame.

Fire conditions and localized closures and restrictions are subject to change. Because tribal, federal, state, and local mandates are different, there may be differences in their year-round regulations and restriction notices.

For a more detailed explanation concerning agency restrictions and fire information, contact the nearest land management agency office in the area you plan to visit. Go to http://wildlandfire.az.gov or call the toll-free Southwest Fire Restrictions Hotline, 1.877.864.6985.




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