Multiple national forests are closing to visitors due to increased fire danger.
The Coconino and Kaibab national forests closed to the public on Wednesday because of the "fire danger, dry conditions, and persistent wildfire activity during a time when firefighting resources are sparse," according to the Forest Service.
"A full forest closure means that the public is prohibited from entering any part of Coconino National Forest at any time. Only those with private inholdings will be allowed access to their property, as well as personnel providing utility support where necessary, and firefighters performing their duties," a news release said.
The Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest announced Tuesday, due to extreme fire danger and dry conditions during a time when firefighting resources are stretched thin, the entire forest will close for public safety, beginning Thursday, June 24 at 6 a.m.
Prescott National Forest will close for the same reasons beginning Friday, June 25 at 8 a.m.
The entire forest is closed, except for the following areas and roads:
- Lynx Lake – Road access to Lynx Lake remains open. Access to day-use recreation facilities on the North Shore of Lynx lake will be open through Forest Road 611. Forest Road 611 will remain open between County Road 57 (Walker Road) and North Shore day-use recreation facilities. Forest Road 623 will remain open between County Road 57 (Walker Road) and South Shore day-use recreation facilities. FS Trail – 311, which circumnavigates the Lynx Lake allowing access to the shoreline, will remain open. FS Trail 311 is directly accessible from North Shore and South Shore day-use facilities.
- Granite Basin Lake –Forest Road 374 will remain open from County Road 10 (Iron Springs Road to Granite Basin Lake. Road 374 provides direct access to day-use picnic areas and boat launch. Access to the shoreline around the lake will remain open for recreation.
- Goldwater Lake – Forest Road 9713E will remain open from County Road 56 (Senator Highway). Forest Road 9713E provides direct public access to City of Prescott parking recreation facilities on the east side of Goldwater Lake. The majority of Goldwater Lake is on City of Prescott property, and access to parts of Goldwater Lake on City of Prescott lands is not restricted by this order. The section of Upper Goldwater Lake that is located on Forest Service lands is the southwestern quarter of the lake. Public hiking access to the lake will be permitted to the shoreline of parts of the lake where it intersects Forest Service lands.
FOREST CLOSURE for the Prescott National Forest NOW IN EFFECT. Lynx Lake North & South Shore, Trail 311, and Granite Basin Boat Ramp remain OPEN. DETAILS - Forest Closure Order: https://t.co/1QAN1Q0hQd STAGE 2 FIRE RESTRICTIONS REMAIN IN EFFECT: https://t.co/POhk6fAF9r pic.twitter.com/jKMbNCTlcr— Prescott NF (@PrescottNF) June 25, 2021
Tonto National Forest said Tuesday they will be implementing a Stage 3 Forest Closure on Friday but some areas will remain accessible.
The #TontoNF will be implementing a Stage 3 Forest Closure on Friday, June 25, 2021 due to extreme fire danger. Some lakes, roads & recreation areas will remain accessible. The official Stage 3 Forest Closure order will be released tomorrow afternoon with a closure map. pic.twitter.com/KwV2yCVj2a— Tonto NF (@TontoForest) June 23, 2021
Currently, there are at least 15 wildfires in Arizona with more than 400,000 acres actively burning, including the Rafael Fire, west of Sedona. Several of these wildfires have current evacuations in place.
WILDFIRES WITH EVACUATIONS
RAFAEL FIRE: 78,750 acres, 89% containment
Evacuations: GO: in Coconino County, Sycamore Canyon. SET: in Yavapai County, Loy Ranch. READY: in Coconino County, Garland Prairie South and Garland Prairie North, South of Williams, Sherwood Forest, Camp Navajo, West of I-17 south of 1-40, Westwood Estates, Flagstaff Ranch (including W.L. Gore), Mountain Dell, Pine Del, Forest Highlands, Kachina Village, University Heights, Equestrian Estates, Upper Oak Creek Canyon, West Fork, Lower Oak Creek Canyon, and in Yavapai County, Grey Ranch, Windmill Ranch, Bear Mountain, and Sedona.
BACKBONE FIRE: 40,826 acres, 43% containment
Evacuations: SET: Strawberry, Hunt Ranch, Pine
WYRICK FIRE: 7,592 acres, 76% containment
Evacuations: SET: Antelope Valley, Despain Ranch, Heber-Overgaard, Chevelon Retreat, areas north of State Route 260 and northwest of State Route 277
TELEGRAPH FIRE: 180,725 acres, 89% containment
Evacuations: GO: Dripping Springs, Wind Spirit, Hagen Ranch, Slash S Ranch, Government Springs. READY: El Capitan East and West, Six Shooter, Icehouse Canyons, Superior, Globe, Miami, Claypool, Central Heights, Pinto/Carlotta, Skill Center, Fairgrounds, Schulze Ranch, Ray Mine, Top-of-the-World, Bellevue, Oak Flat, Beverly Hills, Riverside, Kearny, Winkelman, Hayden, Battle Axe area.
PINNACLE FIRE: 34,417 acres, 60% containment
Anyone camping or visiting the national forests should leave before the closure goes into effect. Forest personnel will attempt to reach as many people to inform them of the closure, officials said.
Anyone with plans to visit the forests over the next "several weeks," should cancel their plans, officials said. The closure will remain in place until wildfire danger subsides.
"This closure will not be rescinded until sufficient precipitation is received to adequately reduce the risk of wildfire, and hot, dry weather conditions are no longer forecast to continue," a news release said. "In short, this closure will continue until conditions are such that the closure can be lifted."
Violating the closure and fire restrictions could lead to 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.
At 8am today, State Trust Land in all 15 #AZ counties will be closed to recreational use. For all state restriction & closure information visit - #WildlandFire.az.gov #AZFire #AZForestry pic.twitter.com/nmGbp9M9Wx— AZ State Forestry (@azstateforestry) June 25, 2021
Arizona Snowbowl announced Monday it would temporarily close at the end of the day Tuesday, June 22, due to Coconino County's current fire danger.
Slide Rock State Park, near Sedona, and Tonto Natural Bridge State Park, near Payson, both part of the Arizona State Parks & Trails, are also closed due to nearby wildfires.
Due to the full closure of @CoconinoNF starting June 23, Snowbowl will temporarily close for summer operations at the end of the day on June 22. We’re thankful for our first responders, and we look forward to reopening when it’s safe to do so.— Arizona Snowbowl (@AZSnowbowl) June 22, 2021
Learn more https://t.co/r4AZxBOG29 pic.twitter.com/iWLE1sRz5W