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Updated Apr 16, 2014 - 3:25 pm

Final Word: Be smart and don't spark wildfires

It's Easter weekend, and although Easter is late this year, something else is here early.

Really early.

Fire restrictions will go into effect in four national forests in Arizona on Friday. That means no fires, save for established campgrounds in the Coconino, Kaibab, Prescott and Tonto national forests. Smoking is restricted to developed campgrounds, buildings or enclosed vehicles.

No fireworks, ever, but if that is news to you, please don't ever go camping.

The bottom line is, too many trees and too little water have proven to be a deadly combination in Arizona over the last decade.

And if you're an experienced camper, you probably already practice all the fire safe techniques you should. But sometimes it's an ignorant accident that starts the forest fire.

The best intentions can still go horribly wrong, like the Wallow Fire. It was caused when two campers THOUGHT they had properly put their fire out. They threw a candy wrapper into the fire, to make sure it was out.

It wasn't. More than 500,000 acres burned.

This year will prove to be challenging. No amount of summer rain will make up for the lack of snowpack and overgrown forests.

So if you must camp this summer, leave the cigarettes at home or in the car. Use the fire ring inside the campground, douse that fire before you leave and make sure your boat trailer isn't dragging a chain.

The slightest spark could turn in to this summer's Yarnell Hill Fire. Let's not have that happen EVER again.

About the Author

Karie Dozer is host of Arizona's Noon News.

She has been an on-air personality nearly continually since her college days. She loves radio because it is intelligent, immediate and almost always available.

She is the youngest of nine children from a Midwestern Catholic family where she learned to be heard, fight for a place at the table and find humor in almost everything. She was hired as a news intern while a senior at ASU's Cronkite School, and found that covering human stories like the OJ Simpson white Bronco chase and the 1992-93 Phoenix Suns was too much fun to pass up.

She loved life in the newsroom with all the action and crazy personalities to go with it. She anchored and covered some sports too, until politics dragged her away. She served as press secretary for Arizona's Attorney General Grant Woods for a five-year stint before jumping back to radio on a part-time basis. Three years ago she got back in the biz on a more regular basis as a midday host on what is now KTAR News. She has a passion for the breaking news of the moment, education, local politics, great food, sports and fitness. She has trouble turning down a good argument, a good book or a good glass of wine.

In her spare time she takes care of her boys, (husband Rich, son Jack, and yellow lab Buddy,) and bakes awesome chocolate chip cookies. She enjoys the quality of life the Valley offers her family and the natural beauty of Arizona. Her favorite places are golf courses, her own kitchen, the city of Flagstaff, and wherever her family is.

She considers herself lucky to work with the amazingly talented people of KTAR radio.


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