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Wildfire Season: Campfire restrictions

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PHOENIX -

Planning to go camping this weekend? 

Right now, in most of Arizona, campfires are restricted to designated camp areas, but as of Wednesday, new fire restrictions go into place -- meaning no more campfires for much of the state.

It was the largest wildfire in our state's history.  The Wallow Fire devoured 538,000 acres in eastern Arizona and New Mexico in 2011.

The fire was started by a campfire that was not fully extinguished.

"It can be devastating.  It can burn houses down," said Carrie Dennett, a state fire prevention officer with the Arizona State Forestry Division.

Starting June 19, new fire restrictions go into place for most of the state.

"So that means no campfires anywhere, anytime," said Dennett.

The State Forestry Division implements the restrictions every year.  Dennett says the dry lightning, associated with monsoons, along with human-caused fires, can be a dangerous combination.

"We are very ripe for conditions what we're seeing in Colorado and New Mexico."

The Wallow Fire burned the area the size of Phoenix and Tucson combined.  Fire officials reiterate to never leave a campfire unattended.

"You may want to pour as much water as you have on it and you need to take a shovel or a tool and mix it up so it's cold to the touch," explained Dennett.  "If you can put your hand in it, then you can walk away."

The Wallow Fire burned 60 buildings, half of which were homes. 

The cousins who started the fire were ordered to pay more than $3.5 million in restitution.  The payments to be made in monthly installments for the rest of their lives.

"This is something that's preventable, so we want to make sure everybody cognizant of how they deal with fire in the woods this summer," said Dennett.

To find out what fire restrictions are in place where you live, go to: http://firerestrictions.us/az

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