The Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management is asking the public to avoid using fireworks this Fourth of July due to the fact that more than half of the state remains dry and fire activity continues.
Fireworks are regulated in Arizona under ARS § 36-1606. Under state law, fireworks sales are restricted to the 4th of July and New Year holidays with only certain types allowed to be sold. Firecrackers, bottle and sky rockets, roman candles, and any type of aerial firework are illegal in Arizona.
While certain fireworks are legal, they can still start wildfires. Just as recent as last year, DFFM fire investigators ruled fireworks as the ignition source of the 260-acre Stage Fire off I-17, northwest of New River. This year’s fine fuel load across the Sonoran Desert remains extremely dry and any spark into that vegetation type can start a fast-moving wildfire. Due to fire activity, resource availability, the drought-stressed fuels, and firefighter and public safety concerns, closures and Stage II fire restrictions remain in place. Fireworks are not allowed on State Trust Land at any time of the year, regardless of restrictions or closures. While precipitation is in the forecast, it will take quite a bit of continual moisture to pull the state out of its drought status and decrease fire activity.
“It’s a matter of situational awareness and personal responsibility. We are in the heart of our fire season and current conditions have prompted closures as a proactive measure to decrease the chance of new wildfire starts. Fireworks have proven to be an ignition source for fires on our lands and what we are asking is that the public understand the threat, make good choices, and if possible, partake in alternative 4th of July activities. Our prevention team will be out again patrolling and making sure everyone is being safe and abiding by restrictions and closures,” said DFFM Prevention Officer Aaron Casem in a press release.
To date, 1,090 wildfires have burned nearly 526,000 acres throughout Arizona on all land jurisdictions.