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North Mountain Preserve (City of Phoenix Photo)

PHOENIX -- After a weekend of strong winds, the Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department has banned open fires in city mountain and desert preserves.

Smoking outside of an enclosed vehicle and charcoal fires are also prohibited because of the extreme fire danger. Propane or gas grills may be used but only in established picnic areas.

The ban applies to Camelback Mountain; Papago Park; all areas of the Phoenix Mountains; South Mountain Park/Preserve; North Mountain and surrounding areas; the Sonoran Preserve; and the Deem Hills area.

Phoenix Fire Capt. Jonathan Jacobs said these areas are rugged and difficult for firefighters to reach, which iswhy people need to be careful with fire.

"There are trails all over the place. One of our big concerns is that somebody becomes trapped with no escape route to get out. And there are also homes inside of these areas," Jacobs said.

Residents whose property borders the preserves should remove dry shrubs, brush and grasses and trim dead branches from trees within the 10-foot strip of preserve bordering their property. By creating this buffer zone, residents can help to protect their homes from brush fires.

The ban does not apply to traditional city parks.

Jim Cross, Reporter

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