Several Abandoned Campfires Reported Over Labor Day Weekend
Over Labor Day weekend, nearly three dozen abandoned campfires were reported on the Coconino National Forest. As Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius reports, the number represents a major uptick over previous years.
Sunny, warm weather drew larger-than-normal crowds to northern Arizona’s forests over the holiday weekend. As a result, officials with the Coconino National Forest say they responded to nearly four times the number of abandoned campfires compared to a year ago.
Don Muise is the fire and aviation staff officer for the Coconino National Forest.
“As lush as it is out there, because of our monsoon rain, people think that – as green as it is – that there’s not chance that a fire would escape and could get away. But we know from past experiences that that’s just not true,” Muise says.
None of last weekend’s abandoned campfires resulted in a major wildfire. But, Muise says despite a wetter-than-average monsoon season, conditions in area forests could still produce a late-season blaze.
“There are times when we have a fall fire season that keeps us pretty busy … and we’ll be chasing fires this fall if we continue on a drying trend with no more moisture,” Muise says.
Forest officials urge all visitors to constantly monitor their campfires and extinguish them until the coals have completely cooled to the touch.