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Fire restrictions for holiday weekend

Posted at 8:24 PM, May 25, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-25 23:24:50-04

PATAGONIA, Ariz (KGUN9-TV) - You might be packing for your Memorial Day weekend right now.  It's a great time to enjoy Arizona's outdoors, but you need to bring along some common sense and caution about how you use fire. 

Kids and adult love the shady campgrounds at Lake Patagonia State Park.

Campsites are booked solid for the Memorial Day weekend but campers will need to use care to protect the park they love. Government agencies have imposed fire restrictions across Southern Arizona.

It's been less than a month since the Sawmill fire swept through just a few miles from the park.  Campers like Kim Wheeler know with dry windy conditions they need to be especially careful with fire. 

“I make sure it stays in the ring where it belongs, keep the kids away.  Don't let them play with sticks around it because it gets..I mean it's dry it's gonna burn. The kids get hurt, they drop it somewhere and we got a fire." 

In the ring, means in the steel rings campgrounds provide to contain the flames.  That's one of the most important rules in fire restriction just imposed for Southern Arizona.  Camp grills are approved for use too.

At Lake Patagonia, cool water in the hot desert makes the park so popular park manager Colt Alford expects fifteen hundred to two thousand people a day.  He says smokers have to be sure they're in a spot where fire is not likely to spread, so in a closed car or in an area with no brush for three feet all around.  

Alford says most campers know the precautions.  Some just wait until fire danger subsides. 

"We get the word out quicker, as soon as we can..a lot of disappointed people, we'll get some cancellations on camping because that's part of the whole atmosphere of camping is that campfire." 

And the fire restrictions cover all of Southern Arizona not just along the shores of this cool blue lake.