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Fire restrictions lifted on Coronado, but fireworks never OK in Arizona's national forests

Coronado National Forest administrators have lifted fire restrictions ahead of the July 4th weekend but fireworks remain prohibited year-round.

Fireworks, exploding targets and other pyrotechnic devices are never allowed on national forests in Arizona, regardless of weather conditions or holidays, officials said in a reminder to the public.

Regulations are enforced and violations are punishable as a misdemeanor with a fine of no more than $5,000, imprisonment up to six months, or both.

As the July 4 weekend draws near, Coronado National Forest staff would like to remind forest users of a few measures that they can take to help visitors have an enjoyable holiday.

Monsoon season

With summer monsoon thunderstorms, which can be isolated in nature and may materialize quickly, people enjoying national forest areas are asked to stay up to date on weather conditions and be ready to seek shelter in buildings or vehicles when storms approach. Avoid sheltering under trees. Visitors should also avoid low-lying areas, washes and stream channels, which can flood without warning.

Camping

Campers are encouraged to be good neighbors and recognize “quiet time” after 10 p.m. They should also avoid pitching tents on low ground and opt for areas that are well-drained. Not all camping areas have water available so it's best to haul in water. Visitors should remember to remove trash, and not leave litter behind.

Fire safety

Before going hiking or camping, always check with the appropriate forest, grassland, or ranger district for fire restrictions or area closures. Use alternatives to campfires during periods of high fire danger, even if there are no restrictions. Make sure any fire started is fully extinguished before leaving the area. Even if it isn’t cold to the touch, don’t leave it. 

Keep your campfire at a manageable size and never leave it unattended. 

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Remember that anyone who starts a fire that spreads will be held liable for the cost of suppression and damages.

Wildlife

The Coronado National Forest is home to many wildlife species. Visitors should be “bear aware” and maintain clean campsites. Store food away from sleeping areas, and “bear-proof” food and garbage by using metal storage boxes in recreation sites. 

In dispersed areas stow food and garbage out of sight and smell-range of bears. Cookware and dishes should be washed and stored promptly after meals. Clothing with food odors, as well as odorous items such as toothpaste and lotions should not be taken into sleeping areas. 

Wildlife should not be fed intentionally or accidentally. For their safety, pets should be leashed at all times. Avoid contact with animals and “keep wildlife wild.”

International boundary travel caution

National forest visitors traveling near the Mexican border are asked to remain alert to their surroundings. Illegal smuggling activity is known to occur in some of these areas. 

Don't try to stop illegal activity, officials said. Report any suspicious activity to the Border Patrol, 800-BE ALERT or (800) 232-5378 with a location, descriptions of persons involved, vehicles, the date and time of the occurrence pertinent information, they said.

Dispersed use/off-highway vehicles

Picnicking and camping outside of developed recreation areas in the forest is allowed unless otherwise posted.

Visitors must provide their own water and pack garbage out. Off-road/off-trail motorized travel is prohibited.

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Coronado National Forest officials remind visitors of restrictions and suggestions for a safer July 4 holiday.