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Coconino County Adopts Wildfire Defense Ordinance

Coconino County Adopts Wildfire Defense Ordinance
August 21
11:42 2015

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — The Coconino County Board of Supervisors has adopted a Wildfire Defense
Ordinance that provides clarified guidelines for the public during wildfire season and assists in
strengthening the coordination of fire-related activities between the various jurisdictions within the
county.

In the past five years, two of the largest wildfires in Coconino County history occurred with the Schultz
and Slide Fires. In both cases the fires were caused by humans, with the total economic impact of the
Schultz Fire alone estimated at between $133-147 million. The Schultz Fire in 2010 claimed 15,000
acres and 2014’s Slide Fire claimed 21,000 acres, intensifying the importance of clarifying rules
governing restricted activities.

At the direction of the Board of Supervisors, the Coconino County Department of Emergency
Management and the County Attorney’s Office updated the 15-year-old fire restriction ordinance. The
result is the Wildfire Defense Ordinance (2015-03) which incorporates the following changes:

• More clearly defined prohibited activities, establishing three well-defined stages of fire restriction

• Each stage has more clearly defined allowed and exempted activities

• Fire restriction stages similar to those used by the United States Forest Service and the City of
Flagstaff

•A streamlined administrative process for moving between fire restriction stages and ending fire restrictions

The Wildfire Defense Ordinance (2015-03) does not create any new enforcement requirements, but does
coordinate wildfire restrictions between jurisdictions such as the City of Flagstaff, the United States
Forest Service and the Arizona State Forestry Division, aiming to eliminate confusion.
To achieve these goals, the ordinance begins with a complete ban on fire, and the option of enacting
three stages of exemptions (Stage 1 being the lowest level of restriction and increasing up to a Stage 3
status).

The Wildfire Defense Ordinance guidelines are enacted by the Board of Supervisors w
recommendation by the Emergency Management Director.ith

“Reducing the threats to our residents and communities from wild land fire is the County’s number one
public safety priority,” said Coconino County Board Chair Art Babbott. “The Board’s action provides for
better communication with residents, improved coordination with our state, federal, and local partners,
and an emphasis on fire prevention which is in the long-term financial interests of Coconino County.”

The ordinance takes effect within 30 days of its adoption at Tuesday’s meeting.

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