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Maricopa parks fire ban to go into effect earlier than usual


PHOENIX — An abnormally heavy rainy season has influenced the Maricopa County Parks and Recreation Department to enforce its annual fire ban almost a month before normal.

The ban will begin May 1 in an effort to limit the possibility of starting a brush fire and causing damage to any parks.

Typically, the ban begins around Memorial Day.

“Given the abundance of rain we’ve received this year, we’ve had an outstanding wildflower season,” Maricopa County Parks and Recreation Director R.J. Cardin said in a press release. “Unfortunately, as the blooms and brush die off and dry out, the parks are left with dangerous levels of fuel loads on the ground that can ignite a wildfire with just a small spark.

“As a land manager, we believe the decision to implement sooner rather than later is the responsible thing to do to ensure park visitor and park resource safety.”

The ban includes the use of campfires, fire pits and charcoal grills. It will still be acceptable to use gas or 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 it is 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.

Here is the 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

• 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

• Vulture Mountains Recreation Area

• White Tank Mountain Regional Park

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