Open fires banned on mountain preserves - KMSP-TV

Open fires banned on mountain preserves

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PHOENIX -

Triple digit heat has returned to the valley. Today's high in Phoenix was 103 degrees, the hottest of the year.

The warmer weather and low humidity means fire danger is way up. And starting Monday, the Parks and Recreation Department banned open fires on Phoenix mountains and desert preserves.

"One spark, one match can set it off. That's kind of rugged out there and I don't know if firefighters could get to it fast enough to keep it from being a major fire burn," says Beverly Hall, South Ponderosa Stables.

Hall will change how she does business at the stables, located at the entrance of the South Mountain Preserve. No more outdoor wood cookouts for the horse-riding guests.

"We convert to butane instead of using wood fires. It is kind of a hassle but there has never been a major fire in these mountains," she says.

In the picnic areas around the preserves, smoking, charcoal fires, or any other type of open flame is banned.

The ban won't impact most of the people who visit the park.

"I can understand why someone would be upset they can't have a barbecue, but if there's a fire risk that's a tradeoff we have to make," says hiker Nick Knoebel.

It may be an inconvenience, but it's worth it to protect the thousands of acres of preserve land, says Hall.

"I would be heartbroken to see fire on the mountain."

Violating the fire ban is a class 1 misdemeanor. Park rangers rarely give out citations for violating the ban. This is more about educating the public.


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