WHITERIVER — An announcement from Ft. Apache BIA Fire Management Specialist Candy Lupe announced that effective Wednesday, May 26, at 7 a.m. Modified Stage Two Fire Restrictions will be in effect on the Fort Apache Indian Reservation.

The Ft. Apache Indian Reservation, like most of the rest of the state, is in extreme drought conditions and fire danger is high on the White Mountain Apache Tribe Reservation lands.

Lupe stated in an email that building, maintaining, attending or using fire, campfire or charcoal-burning devices is prohibited during the hours of 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., except for fires that are related to traditional ceremonies, religious events, wakes, and residential/tailgate cooking fires. On Red Flag days, campfires will not be allowed during designated times of red flag conditions.

• Propane campfire or fire pit devices are also prohibited from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

• Debris burning is prohibited until further notice.

• Smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle or building, is prohibited.

• Fireworks are always prohibited on the Ft. Apache Indian Reservation.

• Operating an internal combustion engine other than a motor vehicle in forest and woodland areas is prohibited.

• Welding or operating an acetylene or other torch with open flame in forest and woodland areas is prohibited.

• All motorized travel shall be restricted to developed roads.

• Discharging a fire arm is prohibited.

The following Industrial Restrictions are also being implemented:

1. Power saws may not be used from 12 p.m.-8 p.m. for any wood cutting/thinning activity except project crews which are properly equipped and performing fuels treatment projects which may continue working until 2 p.m. with one half hour of monitoring by the entire crew following operations plus the provision identified under fire guards. Fire guards will remain on duty each day for two hours after wood works has stopped. Fuels projects may mitigate this requirement with the addition of fire qualified engine patrols for two hours following completion of operations for the day. This restriction does not apply to residential and commercial properties.

2. Crawler-tractors, skidders, and sheers may be used until 12 noon. Turbine-driven rubber-tired skidders, feller-bunchers, delimbers, and clearing equipment may be used until 2 p.m. Operation on mineral soil involving road excavating, watering, grading, surfacing, rock crushing, and/or other equipment maintenance may continue with unrestricted hours. Log loading and hauling may continue past 2 pm. Operations not on mineral soil must also shut down at 12:00 noon.

Lupe stated that all of the restrictions listed above will remain in place until rescinded adding that the BIA and the White Mountain Apache Tribe will reevaluate fire danger on June 3 to determine if higher restrictions need to be implemented.

“BIA Fort Apache Agency appreciates your cooperation in protecting the White Mountain Apache lands. For more information, visit us on facebook at, https://www.facebook.com/BIAFAAFireMgt/. Remember only you can prevent wildfires,” Lupe stated.

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