Arizona land management agencies have an important message for everyone heading outdoors this Independence Day weekend: Be a responsible recreation visitor. It only takes a spark to start a wildfire.
The Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management, and the Arizona State Forestry are joining forces to remind recreationists to be extra vigilant to prevent wildfires. Here are several tips to help prevent wildfires this summer:
• If campfires are permitted, make sure your fire is completely out before leaving it unattended. Pour water on your fire and stir it with a shovel. Repeat until the fire is cool to the touch. If it is too hot to touch, it is too hot to leave.
• Don’t park your vehicle in tall grass or over small shrubs where a spark or hot engine parts can start a fire.
• Make sure vehicles are in good working condition and tires are properly inflated. While towing a trailer make sure safety chains and other trailer equipment does not touch the ground. Dragging safety chains create sparks and can cause fires.
• Make sure all motorized equipment, including chainsaws, all-terrain vehicles, and motorcycles have approved spark arrestors.
• Always discard cigarette butts in ashtrays inside a vehicle or a building.
• Target shooting is prohibited in some areas. Where permitted, avoid shooting on hot, windy days, and be sure your target area is free of dry grass and shrubs. When shooting, always carry a fire extinguisher, extra water, and a shovel in case a fire does start.
• The use of fireworks of any kind, incendiary devices, and exploding targets is prohibited on public lands, as sparks from these items can start a wildfire.
• Know before you go. Check the current fire danger conditions and plan accordingly. Visit www.firerestrictions.us/az/ for detailed information on current fire restrictions.
• If you see a fire -- or start one -- report it by calling 911 immediately.
Also, please be aware that the use of drones near wildfires can result in the suspension of aerial firefighting activity with the use of airtankers and helicopters.