Jun 112014

By Naomi Hatch

Stage II fire restrictions are in force in Navajo County due to the high temperatures, very low humidity and windy conditions, according to Snowflake Fire Chief Pat Hancock.

Hancock was the speaker at the May 28 Snowflake-Taylor Chamber of Commerce Lunch and Learn, and he explained the stages of fire restrictions.

“Stage restrictions came into play right after the Rodeo/Chedeski fire”, said Hancock.

Stage I includes minimum restrictions, and restricts building, maintaining, attending or using a fire or campfire unless noted in the exemptions; smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle or building; use of any and all fireworks; use of explosive targets; and use of tracer round ammunition.

Stage II includes moderate restrictions, and includes all Stage I restrictions, as well as mechanical and industrial prohibitions, such as operating any internal combustion engine; welding or operating acetylene or other torch with open flame; using an explosive. Stage II restrictions also prohibit operating motorized vehicles off designated roads and trails. There are a number of exemptions, but an exemption does not absolve an individual or organization from liability or responsibility for any fire started by the exempted activity.

Stage III indicates extreme fire danger and would be employed if conditions were so extreme that the potential of a catastrophic disaster was highly likely.

The biggest causes of fires, said Hancock, are unwatched fires, a chain dragging on a trailer, a flat tire or a catalytic converter.

There are no barrel burns, said Hancock. Burn time is 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., if the wind is not over 5 mph. You can get weather conditions online at www.forecast.weather.gov. A burn permit is required before you can burn in Snowflake or Taylor, and Navajo County requires a burn permit if you live outside the city limits. You can get a permit on line at Taylor’s website, www.tayloraz.org, Snowflake’s website, www.ci.snowflake.az.us, or at the Snowflake-Taylor Police Station, located at 602 South Main in Snowflake.   Take your burn permit to the police station and be sure you call police at 536-7500 to report you are going to burn.