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Coconino NF Responded To Dozens Of Illegal, Abandoned Campfires Over Holiday Weekend

Coconino National Forest fire crews had a busy Memorial Day Weekend responding to dozens of illegal and abandoned campfires. It comes despite fire bans throughout the state. KNAU’s Ryan Heinsius reports.

Between last Friday and Monday Coconino personnel responded to 58 illegal campfires. Officials say they received reports of many more but didn’t have the available staff to investigate them all. In addition, firefighters extinguished six wildfires that were each an acre or less in size. All were human-caused, mostly by abandoned campfires.

Officials on the Kaibab National Forest, however, say they received reports of only a handful of campfires and no wildfires during the same timespan.

Northern Arizona received a heavy influx of visitors during the holiday weekend, that backed up traffic for hours on southbound Interstate-17 Monday as people returned home.

Campfires and most other open flames are banned on all six of Arizona’s national forests along with the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park and many state, county and municipal lands.

Ryan Heinsius was named interim news director and managing editor in January 2024. He joined KNAU's newsroom as an executive producer in 2013. He covers a broad range of stories from local, state and tribal politics to education, economy, energy and public lands issues, and frequently interviews internationally known and regional musicians. Ryan is an Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a Public Media Journalists Association Award winner, and a frequent contributor to NPR's Morning Edition, All Things Considered and national newscast.
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