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Maricopa County bans smoking in certain areas of regional parks

(Pexels photo)

PHOENIX — Smoking is now prohibited in certain areas of Maricopa County’s 11 regional parks as part of increased fire restrictions announced Tuesday.

The restriction, which became effective on Tuesday, prohibits smoking except within an enclosed vehicle or at developed recreation sites such as parking lots and campsites, according to a press release.

The smoking ban is part of annual fire restrictions that went into effect on May 1, which includes a ban on the use of campfires, fire pits and charcoal grills.

People can continue to use gas/propane grills in designated areas.

Regional parks included in the fire restrictions are Lake Pleasant Regional Park, White Tank Mountain Regional Park, Adobe Dam Regional Park, Buckeye Hills Regional Park, Estrella Mountain Regional Park, Hassayampa River Preserve, San Tan Mountain Regional Park, Usery Mountain Regional Park, McDowell Mountain Regional Park, Cave Creek Regional Park and Spur Cross Ranch Conservation Area.

Maricopa County officials enacted the smoking ban based on recent wildfire activity within the White Tank Mountain Regional Park and Cave Creek Regional Park boundaries, according to the release.

It also aligns the county’s fire restrictions with the Bureau of Reclamation, Tonto National Forest and Arizona Department of Forestry and Management in the Central West Zone.

Smoking outside enclosed vehicles is prohibited year-round in Phoenix parks and preserves.

Those who smoke in the designated areas of Maricopa County’s regional parks are asked to ensure all materials are fully extinguished before leaving the area.

A date to lift the fire restrictions has not been established, according to the release.

Restrictions are put into effect to limit the possibility of a brush fire starting, as fuel for a fire – including dried grasses, brush and fallen leaves – increase as temperatures rise, according to a previous press release.

Most of the state is also experiencing extreme drought conditions, according to the release, leaving vegetation extremely dry and ideal for wildfire ignition.

Arizona wildfires have burned more than 17,000 acres so far this year, according to InciWeb.

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