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Wildfire officials watching as Arizonans head to nature for holiday

(AP Photo, file)

PHOENIX – As many Arizonans head to the wide open outdoors for Memorial Day weekend, wildfire crews will be on the job with prevention in mind.

Crews will be put in places that are considered high risk and other staff members will be patrolling the highways and interstates.

“The typical concerns our officers are seeing are unsecured tow chains, campfires and target shooting in restricted areas,” Arizona State Forestry spokeswoman Tiffany Davila told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Friday.

Fire danger is high in the state – 465 wildfires have burned 45,000 acres of state, federal and tribal land already, she said.

Of those, 444 were human-caused. Firefighters battled a 1,500-acre blaze in Cave Creek started by a person.

Stage 2 fire restrictions went into effect across the state forests nearly two weeks ago. The limitations also apply to areas supervised by the Bureau of Land Management and Bureau of Reclamation.

Prohibited activities on public lands includes building campfires or using charcoal, coal or wood stoves; smoking outside of an enclosed vehicle; welding; operating an internal combustion engine (power tools) and setting off fireworks.

Maricopa County regional parks also banned fires earlier this month.

Visitors can’t use fire pits, campfires or charcoal grills, but they can use propane grills in designated areas.
KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Jim Cross contributed to this report.

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