If you’re planning to roast some marshmallows in South Mountain Park, thinking again.
The Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department has banned open fires in the South Mountain Preserve and all other desert and mountain preserves in the city.
Citing a consultation with the Phoenix Fire Department, parks officials said an extreme fire danger had been created by “the combination of low humidity, increasing temperatures and frequent high winds.”
The ban covers open, wood and charcoal fires as well as smoking outside motor vehicles, although propane and gas grills are allowed at designated picnic areas.
“Motorists traveling through or near Phoenix desert or mountain preserves should use extreme care with smoking materials and dispose of those only in their vehicle’s ashtray,” the city said.
Parks officials also urged residents whose homes border the preserve to 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,” the city said, urging them to also check irrigation lines and pool back-flush hoses to ensure that water is not seeping into the preserve because “outside water sources encourage unnaturally dense vegetation growth, which increases fire risk.”
The ban does not apply to traditional city parks.
The Parks Department provides advice on removing vegetation. Residents can contact a park ranger by calling 602-495-5458 or e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Parks officials also reminded hikers to cool it now that hot temperatures are beginning to hang around the Valley, noting: “As temperature increases and humidity drops this time of year, those recreating in the city’s desert and mountain preserves should use extra caution.”