Dust, Fire & Mine Shafts

Dust Enforcement

Curb Your Dust
In an attempt to increase air quality and reduce pollution, portions of Maricopa County now restrict motorized vehicles on many unpaved roads and vacant lots.

Nature Rules — Curb Your Dust
Currently, portions of Maricopa County are designated as a serious nonattainment area with respect to federal National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for particulate matter less than 10 microns in diameter (PM10).

New laws have been adopted across the Phoenix metropolitan area in response to air quality concerns.  Cities in Area A now restrict the operation of motorized vehicles on many unpaved roads and vacant lots. Check with your local law enforcement or city office to find out if your recreational use is permissible.

Download “Know Before You Go” Phone Number list (PDF Document 40 KB PDF)

On days when a high pollution advisory FOR PARTICULATE MATTER has been issued by the ADEQ, off-highway vehicle activities on unpaved surfaces will not be permitted in Area A. See Map of Area A for Maricopa, Yavapai, and Pinal Counties (Map)

High Pollution Advisory Facts, Maps, and Closures

For an explanation of pollution advisory closures:
Download ADEQ Newsletter (PDF Document 168 KB PDF)

If you are planning to drive or ride an OHV within Maricopa County check first to see if pollution advisory has been issued by:

Or the Arizona Department of Environment Quality Off-Highway vehicle map (PDF Document PDF)

Dust Sign

Additional Resources

Clean Air Make MoreMaricopa County is working to improve air quality. Everyone feels the effects of high levels of particulate matter in the air. Children, the elderly, and people with heart disease, lung disease and asthma are especially at risk, but even healthy adults are likely to have problems. High pollution levels limit visibility and our ability to enjoy the scenery and activities so popular here in Arizona. To learn more about particulates, the effects, the offenders, and solutions visit CleanAirMakeMore.com External Link. Teachers can also download Lesson Plans that meet Arizona academic standards, and kids can join the Clean Air Kids Club.

Fire Prevention/Closures

Public Lands Information CenterFire Condition News for Most Land Agencies in Arizona: The latest fire news for most land agencies in Arizona can be found at the Public Lands Information Center: PLIC. Local conditions sometimes require land managers to close access or use of areas within their jurisdiction. ALWAYS check with local offices before venturing out on to Arizona's public lands. Check latest Fire News, Restrictions, or Closures. External Link

Bureau of Land Management Fire Restriction Hotline: For the most up-to-date fire restriction information for Bureau of Land Management lands, please call (602) 417-9512, or toll-free 1-877-864-6985. During business hours you may call Explore Arizona Outdoor Information Center at (602) 417-9300, or visit http://www.azfireinfo.az.gov/. External Link Please be EXTRA careful with fire every time you are on public lands.

Arizona State Forestry DivisionArizona State Forestry Division: State and Private Lands: The Arizona State Forestry Division provides for the prevention and suppression of wildfires on state and private lands located outside incorporated municipalities. The Forestry Division accomplishes this mission through the use of cooperative agreements with local, state and federal agencies and other entities organized to prevent and suppress wildfires. To further enhance these capabilities, Forestry Fuels and Fire Crews are provided through the Arizona Department of Corrections. The Forestry Division is also engaged in Forest Management and Urban and Communities Forestry activities designed to enhance forest health. Check Current Fire Information. External Link or See Related Links. External Link

Spark Arrestors

For fire prevention, a USDA approved spark arrestor is required for recreating on land in Arizona.

How Spark Arrestors Work
Spark ArresterSpark arrestors work on the principle of trapping or pulverizing carbon particles with a diameter greater than 0.023 in. The centrifugal trap-type arrestor is by far the most common design used by OHV enthusiasts. In addition to the requirement of certain efficiency levels, a trap unit must have a clean-out device.

Various methods are used to clean accumulated carbon particles out of a spark arrestor. Some include a cleanout plug, end cap, cleanout plate, inserts, snap rings, cleanout bands, and Allen bolts. The spark arrestor must be serviceable without removing the complete exhaust system.

The cleanout requirement is one of the most critical elements of the trap arrestor. It is also one of the most often ignored. During inspections, owners must be reminded that a spark arrestor requires regular and timely maintenance, a critical element of spark arrestor effectiveness.

Some models of spark arrestors/mufflers require fiberglass packing. This packing should be replaced every 30 hours. Evidence of exhausted packing includes oil dripping from the exhaust tail pipe and/or excessive noise. Fiberglass is the only approved qualified packing.

Qualifications for OHV Spark Arrestors
The qualification standard requires spark arrestors to be permanently marked with the model number and manufacturer’s name or trademark. A USDA approved spark arrestor is required for recreating on land in Arizona.  A spark arrestor inspection should be made prior to riding your OHV.

Many people think that a muffler/silencer is also a spark arrestr. Mufflers and silencers are only designed for noise control. Only an inspection can determine whether this is a spark arrestor or a muffler/silencer.

If the OHV has been operating, beware of very hot metal in and around the exhaust system. The arrestor will be a chamber-like device located somewhere along the exhaust discharge. Find the manufacturer’s name or logo and the model number located on the spark arrestor. It may be necessary to clean a portion of the arrestor to reveal that information. It can usually be found on an attached metal plate. The words “Spark Arrestor” or “Qualified” stamped on a piece of equipment does not guarantee that it is a tested and qualified arrestor.

Download Spark e Tech Tip (PDF Document 59 KB PDF)
Download USFS Spark Arrestors Guide (PDF Document 3.2 MB PDF)

Mine Shafts

Unsafe Mine, Stay Out, Stay AliveMine ShaftsApproximately 29 people die each year due to accidents involving mine land features (2008, FAST). There are thousands of open mine shafts in Arizona. Please slow your speeds and keep a cautious eye out for mine shafts. Some roads/trails in Arizona were created by miners, and some roads were created without appropriate authorization from the land agency. Some roads/trails have a very deep open pit around the next turn. At one time, these abandoned mine lands were considered remote but due to urban sprawl and the increased ability of the public to access these sites accidents continue to occur. Many of these features are known to the public though not reported to officials. Other times an abandoned mine feature is discovered by accident. Be aware!

Download Eradicating Unsafe Abandoned Mine Land Features (PDF Document 162 KB PDF)

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