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Tonto National Forest Fire Restrictions In Place Early This Year

Tonto National Forest officials will implement fire restrictions earlier than usual this year. That’s due to a record-dry winter in Arizona.

Beginning April 18, campfires and charcoal-burning devices will be prohibited.

Carrie Templin, a spokeswoman for the Tonto National Forest, said officials are doing everything possible to prevent a new fire from starting before the summer rains arrive.

"We’ve had some red flag days and we probably will have some more," Templin said. "That’s just typical for this time of year, but we don’t get a lot of rain with it and our temperatures are climbing. So we’re just asking for all the help we can get so we don’t get any large fires.”

Smoking is also prohibited, except in a developed recreation site, or an enclosed building or vehicle. Templin said those who don’t abide by the restrictions could face a fine of up to $5,000 and up to six months in prison. 

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Senior field correspondent Bridget Dowd has a bachelor’s degree from Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.