Area Closures in effect beginning wednseday, May 23rd at 6am for Coconino National Forest and Tonto National Forest.
Coconino National Forest
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz., May 18, 2018, For Immediate Release – Coconino National Forest will temporarily close six large areas to public access beginning Wednesday (May 23) at 8 a.m. due to fire danger and for public safety. Areas outside of the closures will remain in Stage 2 Fire Restrictions.
Of these areas, four are located in the Flagstaff Ranger District, one in the Mogollon Rim Ranger District, and one in the Red Rock Ranger District.
Flagstaff Ranger District
- San Francisco Peaks/Mt. Elden area (JPG)
- Kelly Canyon area (JPG)
- Fisher Point area (JPG)
- Mormon Mountain area (JPG)
Mogollon Rim Ranger District
Red Rock Ranger District
For maps of these specific closure areas and the boundaries, please click on the links or map image above.
Forest closures of any kind are not taken lightly, as they affect many people, partner agencies, projects, permit holders, prior plans, and the public. Everyone is prohibited from entering forest closure areas – including Forest Service personnel, unless they are responding to a wildfire or other emergency or patrolling to ensure enforcement of the closure.
Work on thinning and other forest and watershed restoration projects ceases within forest closure areas. Partner agencies, organizations, concessionaires, outfitters, permit holders, and contractors, including utilities, are all prohibited from entering the forest to make repairs or work on infrastructure running through the national forest. Access can only be obtained by a special permit authorized by the district ranger.
Leaving trailers, vehicles, personal property or other objects, including tents, in the forest for the purpose of reserving a campsite or storing property is illegal and in violation of Title 36CFR 261.10(f). In addition, leaving property unattended for 72-hours is considered abandoned property and may be impounded by the Forest Service.
Forest Law Enforcement Officers experience an increase in violations during busy holiday weekends and during the hunting season. To avoid a citation and/or impounding of your personal property do not leave property unattended in the forest.
Forest and district leadership carefully decide which areas meet specific criteria for closure, which include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Fire danger: Areas where the moisture content level is extremely low, as indicated by the Energy Release Component.
- Vulnerability: Areas that are most vulnerable to fire suppression efforts due to inaccessibility, limited resources, and are difficult to evacuate people quickly and safely.
- Values at risk from wildfire: Values such as life, private property, communities, critical watersheds, trailheads, campgrounds, utility corridors, and critical infrastructure, etc.
- Topography: Areas with steep slopes and canyons that are difficult to access and effectively suppress wildfires, which often align with traditional wind directions.
- Cohesiveness with neighboring national forests: The Coconino NF borders several other national forests, which have implemented closure areas that abut the boundary of the Coconino NF. We try to be consistent in areas across boundaries to reduce confusion.
Closures and fire restrictions will be lifted when sufficient precipitation is received to adequately reduce the risk of wildfire, and hot, dry weather conditions are not forecast to continue. A closure across the entire national forest may be implemented in the future if dry and hot conditions persist without precipitation.
Violating closures and fire restrictions is a violation that carries a mandatory appearance in federal court, punishable as a Class B misdemeanor with a fine of up to $5,000 for an individual or $10,000 for an organization, or up to six months in prison, or both.
For further information about fire restrictions in the Coconino National Forest, please call the Fire Restriction Hotline at 928-226-4607.
Tonto National Forest
PHOENIX, May 21, 2018 — For Immediate Release. Public safety concerns due to drought conditions, hot temperatures and increased fire danger are causing the Tonto National Forest to implement two area closures beginning at 6:00 am, on Wednesday, May 23, 2018. Areas outside of the closures will remain at Stage 2 fire restrictions.
The area closures will be in these general areas and will include all Tonto National Forest lands within the boundaries:
- All Tonto National Forest Land north of Payson to the Forest boundary (Mogollon Rim) between the White Mountain Apache Reservation on the eastern boundary, and the Coconino National Forest on the western boundary. The southern boundary of the closure will start at the Fossil Creek Trailhead and head southeasterly along the powerline corridor to Arizona State Highway 87 into Payson and then follow Arizona State Highway 260 east from Payson, along National Forest System Road (NFSR) 405 and NFSR 405A to the National Forest System Trail 178 east along Haigler Creek to the White Mountain Apache Reservation.
- All National Forest System Lands, roads and trails within the Mt. Ord, Four Peaks and Three Bar Wildlife areas.
National Forest System Road 583 from State Highway 87 will remain open for access to Tonto Natural Bridge State Park. The Tonto Creek and Canyon Creek Fish Hatcheries operated by the Arizona Game and Fish Department will be closed for public access.
Arizona State highways 87, 260 and 188 are open for public travel.
County roads through the Tonto National Forest remain open unless the road is specifically closed by the agency managing the road. All national Forest System roads and trails within the area described above are closed.
Owners and leases of private lands within the boundaries of the described areas may travel to and from their private property.
The RV Dump site on the west side of State Highway 188 at Cholla Bay will remain open during regular business hours.
The Tonto National Forest wants concerned citizens to know that forest closures are not taken lightly, as they affect many people, businesses, partner agencies, important restoration and other work on the forest, and the public. When forest closures are in effect, everyone is prohibited from entering the forest including Forest Service personnel, unless they are responding to a wildfire or other emergency or patrolling to ensure enforcement of the closure.
Work on thinning and other forest and watershed restoration projects ceases under a forest closure. Partner agencies, organizations, concessionaires, outfitters, permit holders, and contractors, including utilities, are all prohibited from entering the forest to even make repairs or work on infrastructure running through the national forest. Only emergencies or other very limited exceptions are made.
“These area closures are to provide for public and firefighter safety during the extreme fire danger currently being experienced in central Arizona,” stated Don Nunley, Fire Staff Officer for the Tonto National Forest. “We continue to remind the public that fireworks and other incendiary devices are always prohibited on public lands, and that target shooting remains prohibited under Stage II Fire Restrictions still in effect for the remainder of the Forest.”
Fines & punishments for violating fire restrictions/closures:
- Violating Stage II fire restrictions or going into a closed area is a violation that carries a mandatory appearance in federal court.
- Violation of these restrictions is punishable as a Class B misdemeanor, which means a fine of up to $5,000 for an individual or $10,000 for an organization, or imprisonment of up to six months, or both.
- Fines and punishments are determined by a federal court judge.