MARCH 26, 2014
The Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests wants your cooking and warming fires DEAD OUT
SPRINGERVILLE – Springtime in the White Mountains has sprung, which means many more people are going to be out in the woods enjoying the beautiful, sunny, warm days. The Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests reminds visitors to always be careful with fire, especially after having an unusually dry and warm winter.
Daytime temperatures have been warm, but the nights remain cold, usually below freezing. Many visitors might feel the need to start a warming or cooking fire while recreating. If you decide to have a fire out in the woods, keep it small. Do not even attempt to have a fire on high wind days. Wind can quickly spread a fire by blowing and swirling ash and debris, making it very hard to control. Make sure you are far enough away from overhanging branches, rotten stumps, logs and steep slopes where debris could roll downhill. Clear a ten foot diameter area around your campfire spot by removing leaves, pine needles, pine cones, grass and anything that will burn down to the dirt. Build up a small ring of rocks to create a barrier.
Once your fire is lit, NEVER leave it unattended. Be sure to have water and a shovel close by at all times. Keep an eye on the weather. If it looks like a storm is coming in, consider putting out your fire, as strong and gusty winds are usually associated with incoming storms. When you’re done with your fire, drown it with lots of water. Use a shovel to stir the ashes and water, making sure all ashes are mixed in. Then drown the ashes again with water. If you feel heat when holding your bare hands just over the ashes, then it’s still too hot! Do not try to touch the ashes. If you feel heat pour more water into your ring and stir it again. Once you are confident that your fire is cold and you can’t feel any more heat, disassemble your ring. Only scatter the rocks when you are confident they are also cold. Smokey Bear says “REMEMBER: If it’s too hot to touch, it’s too hot to leave.”
For more information and to take Smokey’s pledge visit www.smokeybear.com.
For current fire information, red flags warnings, and fire restrictions, visit www.311info.net or call 928-333-3412, *311 for Cell One customers, #311 for Verizon customers.
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