The Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department began to ban open fires in city mountain and desert preserves, effective May 12. In consultation with the Phoenix Fire Department, smoking and charcoal fires are included in the ban due to the extreme fire danger that the combination of low humidity, increasing temperatures and frequent high winds. Additional information on the ban is available online, at phoenix.gov/parks.

For those using the preserves, the fire ban stipulates the following:

• Open, wood and charcoal fires are prohibited in any part of the Phoenix mountain preserves.

• Smoking outside of enclosed vehicles will continue to be prohibited.

• Propane or gas grills may be used, but only in established picnic areas.

Motorists traveling through or near Phoenix desert preserves should exercise extreme care with smoking materials and use only their vehicle’s ash trays to dispose of smoking materials.

To protect their homes, residents whose property borders the preserves may remove dry shrubs, brush and grasses and trim dead branches from trees within the 10-foot strip of preserve bordering their property. By creating this 10-foot “buffer zone,” residents can help to protect their homes from brush fires in the adjacent preserve.

For general information or for guidance before removing vegetation, residents can contact a park ranger by calling (602) 495-5458 or by email at natural.resources.pks@phoenix.gov. Preserve neighbors also should check irrigation lines and pool back-flush hoses to ensure that water is not seeping into the preserve. Outside water sources encourage unnaturally dense vegetation growth, which increases fire risk.

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