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Fire restrictions start Saturday for Tonto National Forest

(Tyler Drake/KTAR.com)

PHOENIX — With fires burning around Arizona, U.S. Forest Service officials are taking extra precautions.

Starting at 8 a.m. on Saturday, officials are instituting fire restrictions for the Tonto National Forest.

“Arizona’s record wet winter has created a carpet of grasses which are now cured and dry due to the recent high temperatures” Neil Bosworth, Tonto National Forest supervisor, said in a press release.

“Implementing these fire restrictions will help prevent human-caused wildfires, decreasing unnecessary exposure to firefighters.”

The restrictions include “building, maintaining, attending or using a fire, campfire, or charcoal-burning device” outside of the metal fire rings and pedestal grills provided by the Forest Service.

Additionally, operating internal combustion power tools and using welding equipment or torches with open flames are also prohibited.

For residents not hunting game, discharging firearms are prohibited, while smoking outside an enclosed vehicle, building or developed campsite is not allowed.

“We are reminding the public that fireworks and the use of exploding targets are always prohibited National Forests in Arizona and New Mexico,” Rocky Gilbert, acting Tonto National Forest fire management officer, said in a press release.

Fireworks and explosives are prohibited year-round.

The restrictions come with numerous fires burning across the state, including the Woodbury Fire in the Superstition Mountains and the Mountain Fire near Bartlett Lake.

Violating the fire restrictions can result in up to a $5,000 fine and imprisonment for up to six months.

According to officials, once the Woodbury Fire no longer impacts the national forest, fires will be allowed at certain sites.

For more information on the restrictions, contact the Tonto National Forest at 602-225-5200 or online.

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