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Executive Order Loosens Fire Ban on the Navajo Nation

Executive Order Loosens Fire Ban on the Navajo Nation
September 19
04:30 2020

Executive Order Loosens Fire Ban on the Navajo Nation

President Nez

A heightened fire ban imposed by the Navajo Nation in May has been loosened.

“With devastating wildfires occurring in several states in the Southwest, we must proceed with extreme caution in order to prevent any wildfires and to ensure the safety of our communities on the Navajo Nation,” Navajo President Jonathan Nez said in a press release.

The tribe implemented a heightened fire ban in May. It prohibited the use of power tools as the area experienced dry conditions and high wildfire potential.

The new regulations allow for the use of chainsaws to help people collecting wood for the upcoming winter.

“The latest fire restrictions provide for flexibility to allow our Navajo people to use chainsaws to gather fire wood for the winter season, which was previously restricted during certain times of the day,” Nez said.

Leaders say the current ban still provides for public safety by prohibiting the use of all fires outside of developed sites, as well as the use of firearms and incendiary devices without a permit.

The new Executive Order lifts some of the restrictions that were included in the previous Stage 2 Fire Restrictions, which went into effect in May 2020.

Open fires and fireworks are still prohibited under the latest fire restrictions.

“Use this opportunity to prepare your homes and families for the upcoming winter season,” Nez said. “The top priority is always protecting our communities and our Navajo people,” the president added.

The Stage 1 Fire Restrictions prohibit the following:

  • Possession, manufacturing, sale or use of fireworks or other pyrotechnic devices pursuant to 17 N.N.C. § 2733
  • Building, maintaining, attending, or using a fire, campfire, charcoal, coal; except campfires and charcoal to be used in developed sites where fire rings or grills are provided
  • Using a firearm and incendiary devices, without a valid permit.

The following activities must use extreme caution:

  • Smoking, which is recommended only in permitted areas, within an enclosed vehicle, traditional and ceremonial uses, and while stopped in an area at least six feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of all flammable materials.

The following activities are PERMITTED:

  • Persons who regularly reside within the closed area are permitted to go to and from their homes and continue ordinary activities that do not create an unreasonable fire hazard;
  • Propane, gas or other petroleum-fueled stoves will be allowed for livestock branding;
  • Ceremonial fires, properly registered and permitted by the Navajo Nation Environmental Protection Agency (NNEPA) through a Navajo Nation EPA Burn Registration, five (5) days prior to ceremony. To obtain a Burn Registration, please contact Navajo Nation EPA Air Quality at (928) 729-4156. Mail: NN Air Quality, PO Box 529, Fort Defiance, AZ 86504, FAX: (928) 729-4323 or email: [email protected];
  • Persons with a written permit/bonding/license that specifically authorizes the otherwise prohibited act;
  • Persons conducting activities in those designated areas where the activity is specifically authorized by written posted notice;
  • Any Federal, State, or local officer or member of an organized rescue or firefighting force in the performance of an official duty;
  • The implementation of Low Complexity Prescribed Fire which meet prescriptions approved by the Agency Administrator under an approved Burn Plan.

The executive order states that any person or parties found guilty of violating the fire restrictions will be fined up to $5,000 or provide restitution.

The Navajo Nation Division of Public Safety, Division of Natural Resources, Environmental Protection Agency, Division of Community Development, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs Wildland Fire and Aviation are authorized to enforce the executive order.

 

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