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Fire ban goes into effect early at Maricopa County parks

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PHOENIX — The Maricopa County Parks and Recreation Department will initiate its annual fire ban a little earlier than usual, starting Monday, a spokesman said.

“We typically try to wait until after Memorial Day weekend to implement our fire ban. However, this winter the parks received an abundance of rain which produced a super bloom of wildflowers, thick brush, and ground coverage,” R.J. Cardin, Maricopa County Parks and Recreation director, said, in a press release.

That vegetation has dried out and conditions were ideal for a wildfire, he said.

The recent Cactus Fire burned close to Usery Mountain Regional Park near Mesa.

The ban included the use of campfires, fire pits and charcoal grills; however, it was still acceptable to use gas/propane grills in designated areas such as ramadas, semi-developed and developed camping sites, and along the shore at Lake Pleasant Regional Park.

Smoking in the parks will still be permitted, but park users are strongly encouraged to be responsible in their use. A date to lift the fire ban has not been identified and will be determined by the amount of rain the county receives during monsoon season.

A list of the Maricopa County parks affected by the fire ban:

• Adobe Dam Regional Park

• Buckeye Hills Regional Park

• Cave Creek Regional Park

• Estrella Mountain Regional Park (excludes turf area)

• Hassayampa River Preserve

• Lake Pleasant Regional Park

• McDowell Mountain Regional Park

• San Tan Mountain Regional Park

• Spur Cross Ranch Conservation Area

• Usery Mountain Regional Park

• White Tank Mountain Regional Park.

The department will answer questions about the ban at 602-506-2930.

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