Maricopa County implements smoking ban in county parks

San Tan Mountain Regional Park (Photo by Gabriel Sandler/Cronkite News)

The Maricopa County Parks and Recreation Department initiated its annual fire ban May 1, but the department is taking additional steps to protect the parks due to the extremely dry conditions.

Effective Friday, June 8, smoking in Maricopa County parks will be prohibited, except within an enclosed vehicle or at developed recreation sites such as parking lots, picnic ramadas or campsites, according to a press release.

“We’ve added the smoking restriction to our fire ban in hopes of lessening the chance of human-caused wildfires, which could result in serious damage to the parks and the safety of our guests,” R.J. Cardin, Maricopa County Parks and Recreation Department director, said in a prepared statement.

“Individuals who smoke in the designated areas are also being asked to please make sure all materials are fully extinguished prior to leaving the area.”

The normal restrictions, which include banning the use of all campfires, fire pits, and the use of charcoal in grills or any other manner, are still in effect, but it is acceptable to use gas/propane grills in designated areas.

Violation of Park Rule R-113 may result in a citation. A date to lift the fire ban has not been established but may be determined by the amount of rain received during the monsoon season, a release states.

There are 11 Maricopa County parks that will be affected by the fire ban: Lake Pleasant Regional Park, White Tank Mountain Regional Park, Adobe Dam Regional Park, Buckeye Hills Regional Park, Estrella Mountain Regional Park, Hassayampa River Preserve, San Tan Mountain Regional Park, Usery Mountain Regional Park, McDowell Mountain Regional Park, Cave Creek Regional Park and Spur Cross Ranch Conservation Area.

The Queen Creek Independent is mailed each month to 35,000 homes.

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