This past week on the Apache/Sitgreaves Forest there were 23 illegal campfires, including one that was abandoned and two human caused fire starts that are under investigation. In addition, there were three lightning caused fire starts.
The Navajo County Office of Emergency Management wants to reiterate to both our local residents and visitors alike that we are in Stage 1 fire restrictions and that the laws and rules apply to everyone.
Stage 1 fire restrictions on the forest means that:
• There are to be no fires in dispersed camping areas
• All fires must be in the metal rings or grills provided at developed campgrounds only
• Buying a metal ring and taking it with you into the undeveloped areas to build a fire in is not permitted
• Fires must be attended at ALL TIMES by a responsible adult, and properly extinguished when leaving the campsite
• Smoking is only allowed in an enclosed vehicle or building
• Fireworks are always prohibited
On private property outside of the forest:
• Backyard fires, are allowed IF the area is barren and clear of all debris (3 feet) MUST be attended at all times by a responsible adult
• Smoking is permitted in areas like a yard, porch, carport, parking lot that is completely clear of flammable debris
• Individuals are never permitted to discard smoking materials out of a window or on the ground without extinguishing it.
• Can use devises fueled with propane or LPG fuels that can be turned on or off, area must be cleared of debris (don’t forget to check overhead!)
The penalties for violating restrictions within the national forest include:
• A fine of not more than $5,000 for individuals and $10,000 for organizations and/or imprisonment for not more than six (6) months for EACH violation
County and local jurisdiction penalties include:
• Navajo County a Criminal violation is a Class 1 misdemeanor and shall be subject to a fine of not less than two hundred fifty dollars ($250) nor more than twenty-five hundred dollars ($2,500) for each violation or count and up to 6 months in jail.
• Apache County a Criminal violation is a Class 1 misdemeanor and shall be subject to a fine of not less than two hundred fifty dollars ($250) nor more than seven hundred and fifty dollars ($750) for each violation or count.
**In BOTH counties and local jurisdictions where applicable, there can also be fees, surcharges, and restitution for any medical treatment, reimbursement for emergency response personnel and equipment and any property damage or other economic loss suffered by any person as a result of such violation.