Area closures for Coconino National Forest go into effect tomorrow, May 23

May 22, 2018 - 7:46 pm

Coconino National Forest will temporarily close six large areas to public access beginning tomorrow (May 23) at 8 a.m. due to fire danger and for public safety. All areas of the national forest outside of the closures remain in Stage 2 Fire Restrictions.

The following areas will be closed:

Flagstaff Ranger District

Mogollon Rim Ranger District

Red Rock Ranger District

For details and maps of these specific closure areas and the boundaries, please visit www.CoconinoNationalForest.us and click on the Closuresgraphic in the upper right corner. Some forest roads that are used as boundaries of the closure areas are closed to public access and will have barricades or a gate swung across it. Do not enter these roads and areas or go around barricades or gates.

There may be some who have not yet been contacted in these large closure areas before gates are closed and locked. People who get locked behind gates must call the ranger station of the district in which they are located to get help exiting the area:

  • Flagstaff Ranger Station: (928) 526-0866 (8 a.m.-4 p.m., press 0 to reach a representative)
  • Mogollon Rim Ranger Station: (928) 477-2255 (8 a.m.-4 p.m.)
  • Red Rock Ranger Station: (928) 203-2900 (8 a.m.-4 p.m., press 0 to reach a person)

If after business hours, please contact the Forest Service Dispatch Center at (928) 527-3552.

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.

Source: