Fire danger has increased sharply over the past two weeks, as profuse wildflowers, weeds and green grasses have turned brown and tinder-dry, and on Wednesday April 22 the Tonto National Forest prohibited campfires -- but added that liquid or gas-fueled stoves, grills and lanterns are still OK.
The region-wide order includes all of the US Forest Service regions within Arizona: from the Apache-Sitgreaves to the Coconino, Coronado, Kaibab, Prescott and Tonto National Forests.
Fire fighting efforts are also affected by the covid-19 pandemic this year, the Forest Service has already closed group-campgrounds and locked outhouses; firefighting also cannot operate the same as recent years.
Banning campfires is essential to minimize human-caused wildfire this summer, protecting our first responders and acknowledging the reality that fewer outside resources will be available to suppress larger fires and extended multi-agency efforts.
This Order remains in effect until June 30, unless rescinded.
There are just a few exceptions: for one, those who have a Forest Service permit specifically exempting them from the order -- and any federal, state, or local officer, or member of an organized rescue or firefighting force in the performance of an official duty.
And, again, yes - pressurized liquid or gas-fueled devices (stoves, grills, or lanterns) remain acceptable.
Any violation of this prohibition is punishable as a Class B misdemeanor by a fine of not more than $5,000 for individuals and $10,000 for organizations, or by imprisonment for not more than six (6) months. Questions about specifics of the order? Call the Southwestern Region Regional Office 505-8423292 or read more online https://www.fs.usda.gov/main/r3/home
Outdoor Fire Restrictions
in Gila County, Too
Restrictions are also now in place on open outdoor fires for unincorporated areas of Gila County, where ordinance 11-02 stipulates that whenever the Tonto National Forest issues fire restrictions, similar restrictions apply to all unincorporated areas within Gila County.
This excludes cities, towns and Indian Reservation lands. The ordinance prohibits residents from building, maintaining attending or igniting open outdoor fires, bonfires, campfires, and fireworks. Each violation pursuant to this Ordinance shall result in a civil penalty not to exceed $500 for each violation. The complete ordinance can be found at
under “Open Outdoor Fires.”
The Tonto National Forest Restrictions prohibit most types of fire or fire-causing activities including operating internal combustion power tools, welding equipment and torches throughout the Forest. More information on the Tonto National Forest Fire Restrictions can be found at www.fs.usda.gov/tonto.