There are no restrictions on having campfires in the Coronado National Forest this weekend, but officials are warning of high fire danger.
Easter weekend tends to be a popular time to take a family camping trip or picnic to the forest, and forest officials say heightened vigilance is necessary because the higher elevations got less than normal snowpack this winter, says Heidi Schewel, spokeswoman for the Coronado National Forest.
“Well we’ve got really dry conditions across the forest, the lower elevations there’s a lot of fuel that’s cured and ready to burn. We’re already experiencing fires," she says.
Visitors should take plenty of precautions before lighting a fire, she says, and she offers tips: “If you’re in a developed recreation site, use the metal grill or fire ring that’s provided. If you’re building a fire on the ground, make sure it’s in an area that’s cleared of all flammable fuels underneath it or around it. Don’t build a fire underneath a tree or any overhanging shrubbery. Put the wood into your fire pit that is the right size, don’t have ends protruding from the fire.”
The Coronado National Forest includes the Chiricahua, Santa Rita, Huachuca and Catalina Mountain ranges, as well as Mt. Graham. Fireworks remain illegal in the national forest, even though there are no fire restrictions. Fire danger ranges from moderate to very high in the areas of the Coronado National Forest, Schewel says.