Campfires banned this Memorial Day weekend due to wildfire risks

Arizona forestry officials have issued a red flag warning in Coconino and Mohave Counties, due to high winds, heat, and heavy traffic in open areas this Memorial Day weekend, boosting the fire danger across the state.

While it’s a beautiful weekend to get outdoors, and people are flocking to lakes and campgrounds. At Lake Pleasant Regional Park, there were cars at parking lots, as well as spots along the road. Families were eager to enjoy the sun and outdoors.

"This is great to get out in the open and everything and enjoy being around people," said one person at the park.

Along with large crowds and social distancing, parks and state officials also worried about the increased fire danger, in a week when firefighters have battled several wildfires and brush fires across the state.

Fire officials are on high alert, hoping all the human activity doesn’t spark a major wildfire. With high winds and dry conditions, Arizona has been placed under Stage 2 fire restrictions, which means campfires are banned.

"Bans on charcoal use, target shooting," said Dolores Garcia with the Bureau of Land Management.

Propane tanks must be at least six feet away from brush or grass. Welding, smoking outdoors, and using engine tools are prohibited. However, the cause of most wildfires, according to officials, has not been restricted.

"What causes most of our fires in Arizona is vehicle use," said Garcia. "As you travel, make sure you have no metal or things dragging from your vehicle."

Officials also recommend making sure your tires are inflated before you go, as sparks from blown tires and rims dragging on pavements are another common cause of wildfires.