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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.