Entire state goes under fire restrictions, closures across Arizona-managed lands and forests

TARA ALATORRE

STAFF

PHOENIX – The State Department of Forestry has implemented closures to state owned and managed lands in Maricopa, Coconino, Yavapai and Gila counties and most areas of the Tonto National Forest to ensure public safety and protect property.

 

The announcements were made by state officials last week, and the closures include hunting, camping and off-road vehicle usage.

 

Target shooting and fireworks are never allowed on state lands at any time even when fire restrictions are not in effect, according to a press release from State Forester Jeff Whitney.

 

“Closures are not something we ever want to do or that we take lightly,” Whitney stated.  “But, unfortunately, the time comes when we must look at that option, have discussions, and make the decision based on what’s best to assure the safety of our residents and our firefighters.”

 

Closures in Coconino County are in affect south of the Grand Canyon. Gila County has closed entry for recreational purposes, which went into effect on the morning of May 23.

 

Most of the Tonto National Forest was ordered to be closed on May 23 until further notice, which includes Maricopa, Gila and Yavapai counties.  The closure prohibits all areas, roads and trails within the closed areas.

 

The areas currently affected by the closure in the Tonto National Forest span from the Four Peaks Wilderness area to just south or Rye, Ariz., and include large areas of the Mogollon Rim near Christopher Creek, Payson and Pine.

Pictured:  The maps show the closure areas for the Tonto National Forest, which are highlighted in red.  The decision to close the Tonto National Forest was announced last week by the Department of Forestry due to statewide drought conditions that have caused extreme fire threats this season.  The Tonto Forest will not open until further notice. Maps courtesy of the Department of Forestry
Pictured: The maps show the closure areas for the Tonto National Forest, which are highlighted in red. The decision to close the Tonto National Forest was announced last week by the Department of Forestry due to statewide drought conditions that have caused extreme fire threats this season. The Tonto Forest will not open until further notice.
Maps courtesy of the Department of Forestry

For complete details on the closures visit https://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/tonto/alerts-notices/?aid=46630.