The Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department put into effect on May 1 its annual ban of open fires in the city’s desert parks and mountain preserves. The Maricopa County Parks and Recreation Department’s annual fire ban goes into effect the same day.

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, increased temperatures, excessive dry vegetation and frequent high winds create each spring.

The ban applies to Camelback Mountain, Deem Hills Recreation Area, Lookout Mountain, Papago Park, Phoenix Mountains Park and Recreation Area, Phoenix Mountains Preserve, Phoenix Sonoran Preserve, North Mountain Park, Rio Salado Habitat Restoration Area, and South Mountain Park/Preserve. The ban does not apply to the city’s flatland parks.

For those using the desert parks and preserve land, the fire ban stipulates that open wood and charcoal fires are prohibited; propane or gas grills may be used, but only in established picnic areas. In addition, smoking outside enclosed vehicles and fireworks continue to be prohibited year-round, and motorists traveling through or near Phoenix’s desert parks and mountain preserves should use extreme care with smoking materials and dispose of those only in their vehicle’s ashtray.

To protect their homes, residents whose property borders the city’s preserve land may remove dry shrubs, brush and grasses, and trim dead branches from trees within the 10-foot strip of land that borders their property. 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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