FOUNTAIN HILLS, AZ - It's hot, and dry in the deserts surrounding the Valley, and that has Forest Service officers on high alert.
"We're headed down into mesquite wash. This is a fairly popular area for campers," US Forest Service Fire Prevention officer, Gregor Crawford said as he drove north of Fountain Hills.
Saturday morning, ABC15 rode along as patrols searched campgrounds for illegal fires.
The dry conditions have prompted strict fire restrictions. Off-road vehicles must have proper fire suppression equipment, outdoor shooting is prohibited, and there's a ban on camp fires.
"Open fires at this time of year is a no-no," Crawford said.
Even though camp-fires are off-limits, several spots showed signs of recent use.
"Basically what would have happened is this would creep, get into here, get into here, and before you know it, it's off to the races," he said.
Officer Crawford wet down and covered several recent fires.
Near a dry wash, he found flames burning from an abandoned campfire.
Evidence, he says, that some people just aren't taking the risk of fire seriously, and reason for him to continue his patrols.
"I believe there's a percentage of the public that thinks they're exempt from the restrictions," Crawford said.
A percentage of people he says could be behind the next big wildfire.
Copyright 2013 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Click on the region names in the map below to see news from that region.
Things To Do
We’ve turned a corner! The weather is warming up so it’s the perfect time to get outdoors and enjoy some fantastic weather.
RIGHT NOW: Top Stories
Candy Crush and Farmville among games part of class action settlement.
The next storm system is moving through Arizona right now, bringing chances for rain and mountain snow.
The family of an officer killed earlier this year in a crash caused by a distracted driver says they plan to sue both the big rig driver and trucking company.
Authorities say golfer Tiger Woods' stepbrother was arrested in Phoenix Thursday after calling in a fake bomb threat to the building where he works.
A Phoenix murder suspect is dead after leading authorities on a chase in Tucson Thursday afternoon.
The spectacular annual Geminid meteor shower kicks into high gear Thursday night, NASA said, and people around the world will be able to enjoy it.