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Jun 7, 2012 9:45 PM

Mt. Lemmon fire restrictions stricter

TUCSON - Those hot temperatures combined with a lack of rain mean an increased risk of fire, so forest service is really cracking down on what you can and can't do when it comes to building fires.

Fire restrictions are now up to stage II meaning absolutely nothing can be used to make a fire-- smoking is forbidden outside --even using a vehicle off forest roads is prohibited.

Mt. Lemmon Fire Chief Randy Ogden tells News 4 Tucson he has very serious concerns for the mountain because it's just so dry.

He said any little spark could start a wildfire, and given the recent history with the massive wildfire on Mount Lemmon, the aspen fire that destroyed so many homes and charred so many thousands of acres, everyone is skittish.

Chief Ogden also said there was lower snow fall this year and less rainfall on the mountain.

"I think everybody should still come up. It's just they have to be a little smarter than usual and bring propane lanterns and cook stoves and not use any open flame. It takes a long time for a forest to heal from a fire as you've seen up here so be smart," said Chief Ogden.

He said he's had meetings with nearby fire departments and said they are ready to assist if needed.

Here is the detailed list of restrictions:

Current prohibitions on all ranger districts of the Coronado National Forest are:

1. Building, maintaining, attending or using a fire, campfire, charcoal, coal, or wood stove fire, except within a developed recreation site, or improved site. 36 CFR 261.52(a) EXCEPTION: Use of petroleum-fueled stoves, lanterns, or heating devices is allowed so long as such devices met the fire underwriter's specifications for safety.
2. Using an explosive. 36 CFR 261.52(b)
3. Smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle or building. 36 CFR 261.52(d)
4. Operating or using any internal combustion engine, except motor vehicles.
36 CFR 261.52(h)
5. Welding, or operating acetylene or other torch with open flame.
36 CFR 261.52 (i)
6. Discharging a firearm, air rifle, or gas gun, except while engaged in a lawful hunt pursuant to state, federal, or tribal law and regulations. 36 CFR 261.58(m)
7. Possessing or using a motor vehicle off National Forest system roads, except when parking in an area devoid of vegetation within 30 feet of the roadway, and except for parking overnight in Forest Service developed campgrounds and trailheads. 36 CFR 261.56

Prohibitions are temporary and will be lifted when fire restrictions expire. Any violation of the prohibitions is punishable by a fine of not more than $5,000 for individuals and $10,000 for organizations and/or imprisonment for not more than six months. Fireworks are always prohibited on National Forest lands.

For additional information on fire restrictions on public lands in Arizona and New Mexico please call the toll-free Regional Fire Restrictions Hotline at 1-877-864-6985.

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