Phoenix's ban on charcoal and wood fires in the city's mountain and desert preserves ends today, but its prohibition on smoking outside of enclosed vehicles in those areas will remain in effect.

Effective Oct. 13, visitors can use charcoal in established grills, have open fires in fire rings in picnic areas, and can continue to use propane and gas grills. The Parks and Recreation Department lifted the ban because cooler temperatures allow for safe use of charcoal and fires in established, developed areas, according to David Urbinato, the department's spokesman.

The fire ban went into effect May 10 and applied to South Mountain Park/Preserve; Camelback Mountain; Papago Park; all areas of the Phoenix Mountains; and North Mountain and its adjoining areas, but did not apply to traditional city parks.

The department's park rangers are offering a variety of fall and winter outdoor programs throughout the city preserve system. Participants can view the program schedule and comprehensive trail information online at phoenix.gov/parks.

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