6/26/2013 7:45:00 AM Open flames now banned throughout Yavapai County
Don Rea, right, and John Boezwinkle, both of Chino Valley, watched the Doce Fire from Reed Road as the flames moved over Granite Mountain towards Chino on Tuesday, June 18. The fire was 50 percent contained by Monday, after consuming nearly 7,000 acres.
Agencies increased their fire-use restrictions on June 19, basically banning open flames anywhere in Yavapai County.
"It's dry out there, without a doubt," said Jeff Andrews, assistant fire management officer on the Prescott National Forest.
Hot and windy weather conditions have contributed to fire danger, and made it difficult for firefighters to control the Doce Fire in Prescott this past week.
The region hasn't seen any significant rain since January, Andrews said. That's the last month Prescott had above-average rainfall. By the end of May, Prescott's Sundog site had recorded only 2.69 inches of rain or 40 percent of the average.
Agencies throughout the county and region are coordinating on the increased fire restrictions.
Chino Valley Fire spokesman Rob Zazueta said CVFD is recognizing the county's fire restrictions.
"Also, Chino Valley Fire and Chino Valley Police Department are staffing additional apparatus and patrols during the July 4th celebration. We want the community to know that we are aware of any dangers that the holiday may bring and we are taking proactive measures" Zazueta said.
All fires are banned on the Prescott, Coconino, Kaibab and Tonto national forests. The bans will continue until significant monsoon rains fall.
All shooting is banned on these national forests except for legal hunting. Smoking is allowed only inside vehicles or buildings. All internal combustion engines are banned from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.
All open flames are banned in local fire districts, including all charcoal barbecues and wood fires whether they are covered or not.
People must constantly monitor any gas barbecues. All welding requires special permits. Agencies are no longer issuing burn permits.
"The fire potential is rather high right now," Yavapai County Emergency Management Coordinator Denny Foulk agreed.
Seeing so many people in Colorado lose their homes may be inspiring people to be especially cautious, Andrews said. The Doce Fire certainly gave people a close-up view of how destructive a wildfire can be, eating up 600 acres per hour the first two days, for a total of nearly 7,000 acres.
Nearly 500 people were evacuated from the Williamson Valley area during the fire, and one horse owner estimated that 900 horses had been hauled from the area during the evacuations.
Firefighters had 50 percent containment on the fire by Monday, and lifted evacuation orders. While flames came within just yards of homes, no structures were lost and no one was injured during the fire, excepting a firefighter with a bee sting.
The county remains in moderate to extreme drought, with larger logs down to lower than 5 percent moisture levels, Andrews said.
The U.S. Forest Service's Prescott Fire Center has good resources available right now, including a heavy air tanker and heavy helicopter, he added.
For more information about fire restrictions across Arizona, go online to a new site called firerestrictions.us/az.
For more information on restrictions inside Yavapai County, go online to regionalinfo-alert.org or facebook.com/ycoem.
For more information on Chino Valley Fire District restrictions, visit www.chinoazfire.com or call 928-636-2442.
Chino Valley Review Editor Heidi Dahms Foster contributed to this story.