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Coconino National Forest moves to stage 2 fire restrictions

Coconino National Forest moves to stage 2 fire restrictions

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Fuel load is one of the factors foresters consider before lifting fire restrictions on federal lands. 

As the National Forest continues to respond to the Slate Fire, forest officials announced additional fire restrictions across the Coconino National Forest.

The forest has been under stage 1 fire restrictions since May 14, which prohibits campfires across the forest and limits them to developed campsites only. But with warmer and drier weather expected to continue, officials announced the Coconino National Forest would move to stage 2 fire restrictions starting Friday.

On June 11, the public will only be allowed to use camp stoves when within the national forest. Any fire or the use of charcoal, coal, smudge pots and wood stoves is banned.

Smoking is also banned unless you are inside a vehicle or building, a developed recreation site, or while stopped in an area at least 3 feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of any flammable material.

During the hours of 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., operating a chainsaw or other equipment powered by an internal combustion engine that may cause a fire is also not allowed. Likewise, the use of explosives, blasting, welding, or any other kind of torch with an open flame is prohibited.

Visitors should use caution and keep from driving over areas of vegetation to place their trailers or to unload their tents and camping supplies. This is to keep catalytic converters and other sources of heat underneath the vehicle from igniting vegetation. Additionally, fireworks of any kind are never allowed on national forests.

Finding a suitable location for pulling a trailer off the road will be challenging, particularly with the number of visitors expected during summer months. As a result, some campers may not find a spot to camp on the Coconino National Forest at this time and during the busy weekends.

Fire restrictions will remain in place until the forest receives significant precipitation. Violation of the restrictions on national forests is punishable by a fine of up to $5,000, imprisonment up to six months, or both.

Adrian Skabelund can be reached by phone at (928) 556-2261, by email at askabelund@azdailysun.com or on Twitter at @AdrianSkabelund. 

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