KNAU and Arizona News
Fri April 27, 2012
Forest Service rejects annual campfire ban
The Forest Service has rejected a request by a group of Flagstaff residents to ban campfires in five Arizona forests.
Campfire Limited had petitioned the U.S. Forest Service for an annual ban on all campfires between May 1 and July 15.
They say that is the driest, windiest season for northern and central Arizona, and therefore, the most dangerous time for catastrophic forest fires.
But the Forest Services’ regional forester in Albuquerque said no to their request this week.
Cathie Schmidlin, a spokesperson for the agency in Flagstaff, says the weather conditions throughout the region are too diverse for a one-sized fits all solution.
“For the recreating public – folks who come out and camp in the forest – a big part of their recreational experience is to have a campfire,” she says. “And to impose a ban, when there is no need for a ban, that would have a big impact not only on visitors, but we also hear from a lot of the businesses who depend on tourists who come up.”
Schmidlin says the agency will ban campfires when fire conditions are high.
She urges campers to make sure their fires are “dead out” – meaning the ashes are cold to the touch.