- Associated Press - Tuesday, June 14, 2016

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) - Campfire and smoking restrictions aimed at preventing human-caused fires begin Wednesday at four national forests around Arizona.

Campfire and smoking restrictions will be enforced on the Coconino, Kaibab, Prescott and Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests, officials said.

Authorities say Arizona’s extreme heat and a dry winter mean there’s a high risk of wildfires. Summer has typically been considered wildfire season but experts now say blazes can happen year-round.

The forests use fire restrictions to help prevent human-caused fires and to reduce dangers to forest users.

Fire restrictions typically remain in effect until the forests receive significant precipitation.

Under the four forests’ restrictions, campfires and stoves burning charcoal, coal and wood are allowed only in developed campgrounds that are managed by concessionaires or have campground hosts.

The restrictions also limit smoking to within enclosed vehicles or buildings or in developed campgrounds.

In the Prescott National Forest, the restrictions prohibit shooting guns, but that activity is permitted in the other national forests which jointly announced their restrictions taking effect Wednesday.

Elsewhere in Arizona, the Tonto National Forest issued similar restrictions, including a prohibition on shooting, that took effect last Thursday. Most of that forest is generally located in lower elevations than the others.

Some local jurisdictions also are implementing fire restrictions.

Under restrictions being implemented Wednesday, the Central Arizona Fire District in rural areas of Yavapai County, campfires are still allowed at homes and town parks but use of fireworks and guns is generally prohibited. Also, smoking is prohibited outside of vehicles, residential yards or designated smoking areas.

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