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Gather ’round the fire: Maricopa County parks burn ban to end

(Pixabay Photo)

PHOENIX – Break out the s’mores.

Visitors to Phoenix-area recreation sites will be able to gather around the fire starting next week, when the annual burn ban will be lifted.

Starting Oct. 9, the use of campfires, fire pits and charcoal grills will be permitted at Maricopa County Parks and Recreation Department parks.

“With the cooler temperatures and several schools on fall break, we know park visitors are eager to include a family barbecue and campfire as part of their festivities in the parks,” R.J. Cardin, department director, said in a press release.

“While this has been an extremely dry monsoon season for the state, the cooler temperatures and recent rains have made our team more comfortable about lifting the fire ban.”

The ban has been in place since May 1, earlier than usual, because of conditions that increased the risk of brush fires.

Typically, the ban begins around Memorial Day. But a heavy rainy season last winter led to an abundance of vegetation, which became a potential tinderbox when it dried out.

The ban covered the 11 Maricopa County parks: Lake Pleasant Regional Park, White Tank Mountain Regional Park, Adobe Dam Regional Park, Buckeye Hills Regional Park, Estrella Mountain Regional Park, San Tan Mountain Regional Park, Usery Mountain Regional Park, McDowell Mountain Regional Park, Cave Creek Regional Park, Spur Cross Ranch Conservation Area and Hassayampa River Preserve.

Cardin noted that should conditions change in a way that elevates the threat of brush fires, additional restrictions could be enforced.

“If wind conditions or other factors become a problem, the park supervisors may issue a temporary fire ban to ensure park and visitor safety,” he said.

As a bonus, if you’re planning to camp out at a county parks, you can take advantage of a deal that started this week offering two nights for the price of one through Nov. 10.

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