PHOENIX — Authorities say many sections of the Tonto National Forest will be closed starting at 6 a.m. Thursday because of extreme fire danger due to dry conditions.
The closures will remain in effect until July 30 unless rescinded or extended. Taiga Rohrer, Tonto's fire management officer, says new fire starts have become increasingly difficult to control and the closure is the best option to deal with the fire danger conditions.
Authorities say wildfires have burned more than 350 square miles (906 square kilometers) of the forest already this year, caused by vehicle fires, sparks from tow chains or flat tires.
They say hot temperatures following a wet winter has produced an abundance of dry brush and grass in the forest.