The Maricopa County Parks and Recreation Department will initiate its annual fire ban on Sunday, May 1, 2022.
“The department's annual fire ban dates align with the county’s Air Quality Department burn activity regulations. Under these regulations, outdoor recreational fires are prohibited within Area A’s boundaries between May 1 and September 30. This area encompasses all of our regional parks,” said R.J. Cardin, Maricopa County Parks and Recreation Department director.
With nearly sixty percent of the state experiencing severe drought conditions, the vegetation in the parks is dry and ideal for wildfire ignition. As temperatures continue to rise, fuel levels such as dried grasses, brush, and fallen leaves will increase. Implementing a fire ban limits the possibility of starting a brush fire, which could cause severe damage to park resources, threaten park visitor safety, and pose a danger to homes that are near many of the parks.
It is also important to note that during this time of year, the National Weather Service often issues red flag warnings across central Arizona to alert land management agencies that conditions are ideal for wildfire ignition. Should this occur before the fire ban, park supervisors are authorized to issue temporary fire bans to ensure public safety and protect the park's resources.
When temporary fire bans are issued, the information will be posted on the website, and visitors will be notified upon entry to the park. The parks will also stop selling firewood during this time.
The fire ban does not allow campfires, fire pits, and charcoal grills; however, it is still acceptable to use gas/propane grills in designated areas such as the semi-developed and developed camping sites. Campfires along the shoreline at Lake Pleasant Regional Park are prohibited. Those who violate the fire ban may be fined under Rule 314, Section 312.
Smoking in the parks is still permissible; it is discouraged due to the extremely dry conditions. Please be responsible and ensure that all cigarettes are properly extinguished and placed in trash receptacles if you must smoke.
While September 30 is the traditional fire ban lift date, there is a possibility of an extension. Park staff will monitor precipitation levels and vegetation conditions in the parks throughout the summer to determine if an extension is necessary.
Contact the Maricopa County Parks and Recreation Department at (602) 506-2930, or visit www.maricopacountyparks.net for additional information.