As summer heats up in Coconino County, our residents and visitors alike are reminded that living and recreating amongst such unspoiled wilderness comes with risk and responsibility. Recent wildfires throughout the state illustrate the extreme risk of irresponsible fire behavior and the responsibility we all have to ensure our community stays safe from the natural and not-so-natural disasters.
As part of this responsibility, Coconino County and the Coconino National Forest enacted Stage 2 fire restrictions on June 22, and will do so again if conditions warrant the extra caution. We have experienced a period of prolonged high temperatures, very little precipitation and winds throughout Northern Arizona, a combination hospitable to wild fires. With so many outdoor summer celebrations coming up, it is very important that we are all aware of what these restrictions mean to keep the county safe and fire-free.
Under Stage 2 fire restrictions, the following are not allowed:
- Open fires and camp fires
- Charcoal grills
- Outdoor smoking (except in closed vehicles or developed campsites free from combustible material)
- Outdoor mechanical and industrial operations
- Use of motorized vehicles off designated trails and roads
- Operating internal combustion engines without spark arresting devices
- Possessing, discharging or using any type of firework by pyrotechnic device.
- Explosive targets and tracer round ammunition
If you are unsure if an activity is allowed, please contact County Emergency Management or your local fire district.
Coconino County Emergency Management maintains numerous capabilities for informing the public during emergencies and disasters. One such capability is the CodeRed System. Citizens can sign up to receive the latest updates on emergencies impacting their community through phone calls, texts and/or email messages. (See the link at the bottom of this column for a link to sign up.)
The county actively works with our partners to distribute accurate and clear information to the public. We utilize a range of social media channels as well as open community meetings to do so. By placing up-do-date and relevant information in the hands of the public, our goal is to empower and inform those impacted (or potentially impacted) by fires or other disasters.
Emergencies can happen at any time. Does your family know how to get in touch with each other if you are not all together? Citizens should create their own emergency plan (including communication plans), practice it and have an emergency kit prepared before an emergency occurs.
It is important that your family’s emergency plan includes your pets. If you must evacuate your home, don’t leave your pets behind. You do not know when you will return and animals cannot take care of themselves. Remember, many shelters you go to may not allow animals so you will need to plan for alternatives.
Tips for creating your own disaster plan can be found on the county’s Emergency Management website at coconino.az.gov/emergency.
We also encourage people to continue to use the county’s website (coconino.az.gov) and social media sites on Facebook (facebook.com/coconinocounty) and Twitter (twitter.com/coconinocounty) to receive accurate updates on emergency events.
To sign up for Code Red, please visit public.coderedweb.com/cne/en-US/BF7C58503316. FBN
By Cynthia Seelhammer
Cynthia Seelhammer is the manager of Coconino County.