Hopefully, by the time you read this, it will have rained. As of its writing, I’m wondering if I plant some tomatoes in the garden can I maybe tempt the weather into snow? It’s dry, really dry, and right now, windy. Large parts of our treasured national forests are closed, and fire restrictions are in effect for Flagstaff and Coconino County. We implement restrictions and close the forest to protect them from the very real threat of a catastrophic fire. There are several things we can all do to help protect the forest.
First, respect the closures. As of this writing, parts of the forest remain open, there are still campgrounds and trails that we can use, they just might not be the usual ones. Get informed and keep up on developments. If you have visitors coming, make sure they are informed as well. Second, respect the restrictions. I, for one, miss my charcoal grill right now, but it’s going to have to wait. Right now, we are at Stage 3 fire restrictions.
- No permits are issued for open burning within the City of Flagstaff.
- Open fire pits and open flame devices (like chimineas), etc., are prohibited (even those with a spark arrestor screen) within the City of Flagstaff.
- Charcoal grills are prohibited throughout the City of Flagstaff, (including all city parks and private residences).
- No smoking is allowed at city parks and along the Flagstaff Urban Trail System (FUTS).
- All open-flame devices, even those with an on/off switch, are prohibited in all city parks and private campgrounds.
If we go to Stage 4 restrictions, all grills will be prohibited and some trails may be closed. Again, stay informed, and if in doubt don’t take a chance!
The third thing I’m going to mention is water conservation. If we do have a fire, and I pray we don’t, but if we do, we need water to contain it and protect homes. We are in the midst of a severe drought, and we all need to do our part. Be conscious of when you water your lawn or repair that leaky faucet; maybe start harvesting rainwater. Did you know the city has a water conservation program? We do, and we’ll happily come to your home and help you figure out ways to conserve more water. You can find out more at: flagstaff.az.gov/31/Water- Conservation.
The forest is one of the things that make Flagstaff home. It is precious to each and every one of us. Please join me in doing what we can (or not doing things!) to protect it. FBN
By Coral J. Evans, MBA
Coral J. Evans, MBA, is the mayor of Flagstaff.