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PHOENIX -- Just days after enacting policies to combat wildfires, the Tonto National Forest announced Friday that campfires were prohibited until further notice.

Earlier this week, the forest joined several others in restricting campfires to developed campgrounds only. However, as temperatures begin to increase and the fire danger rises, forest officials decided to ban fires all together.

"We are going into restrictions about a month earlier than normal due to the extremely dry winter and spring we've had this year," said Tonto National Forest Fire Management Officer Helen Graham in a release. "Fuel moisture and humidity levels have been decreasing steadily across the forest and the fire danger is high. These precautionary measures are intended to protect forest resources and enhance our visitors' quality recreation experiences."

Anyone caught with a campfire faces fines up to $5,000 and six months in jail.

Smoking is allowed, but limited to within enclosed vehicles, in buildings and in areas cleared of all flammable material.

Petroleum-fueled stoves and lanterns are permitted in some developed campgrounds.

KTAR Newsroom,

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