Due to increasing fire danger with warmer and dryer weather conditions in the immediate forecast, the Kaibab National Forest will issue a temporary closure for the Bill Williams Mountain watershed area beginning Fridayand continuing until the area receives significant precipitation.
This action is necessary to safeguard public health and safety from exposure to the associated hazards of wildland fire, and to directly protect vital watershed resources contributing to the City of Williams water supply. This order only affects national forest areas, roads and trails located within the boundary of the watershed on the Williams Ranger District of the Kaibab National Forest and does not affect private property.
The closure boundary begins at the junction of Interstate 40 and Forest Road (FR) 108, commonly known as the Devil Dog exit, and travels south and east along FR108 to the junction of FR108 and County Road (CR) 73. The boundary then extends north along CR 73 to the junction of Old Route 66 in the city of Williams. From this junction, the boundary travels west to the junction of Old Route 66 and Interstate 40 at the Country Club exit. The boundary then travels west along Interstate 40 to the junction of FR 108 at the Devil Dog exit.
All lands, roads and trails within the perimeter of the closure area will be closed to the public until the area receives significant precipitation and fire danger decreases.
The Williams and Tusayan Ranger Districts are both currently under Stage II fire restrictions. These restrictions limit the kinds of activities typically allowed on the forest and will remain in effect until significant and widespread moisture arrives.
Due to different weather and fuel conditions, the North Kaibab Ranger District, which is located north of Grand Canyon National Park, has not yet implemented any fire restrictions.
Under the Stage II fire restrictions the following acts are prohibited:
- Building, maintaining, attending or using a fire, campfire, charcoal, coal, or wood stove fire, including fires in developed campgrounds and improved sites.
- Smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle or building.
- Discharging a firearm except while engaged in a lawful hunt pursuant to state, federal, or tribal laws and regulations.
- Operating chainsaws or any internal combustion engine between the hours of 9 a.m. and 8 p.m.
- Welding or operating acetylene or other torches with an open flame.
- Using an explosive. (It is always illegal to use any kind of explosives on National Forest lands.)
As a reminder, fireworks and all pyrotechnic devices are always prohibited on National Forest lands.
Exemptions to the Stage II fire restrictions include the following:
- Using a device fueled solely by liquid petroleum or LPG fuels that can be turned on and off. Such devices can only be used in an area that is barren or cleared of all overhead and surrounding flammable materials within 3 feet of the device.
- Operating generators with an approved spark arresting device within an enclosed vehicle or building or in an area that is barren or cleared of all overhead and surrounding flammable materials within 3 feet of the generator.
- Operating motorized vehicles in compliance with the Kaibab National Forest’s Travel Management regulations. Parking off any road must be in an area that is barren or cleared of all overhead and surrounding flammable materials within 3 feet of the vehicle.
The Forest Service uses fire restrictions and area closures to help prevent unwanted, human-caused fires and to limit the exposure of visitors during periods of potentially dangerous fire conditions. Implementation of fire restrictions and area closures normally occur based on a combination of factors that are carefully measured.
Criteria used to determine when to implement restrictions include things such as current and predicted weather, fuel moisture, a variety of science-based indices, fire activity levels and available firefighting resources. Additional restrictions may be applied any time that conditions warrant. Fire restrictions and area closures typically remain in effect until the area covered receives significant precipitation, at which time they will be rescinded.
Forest officials would also like to remind visitors that having a campfire on the National Forest while under fire restrictions is a violation of law requiring a mandatory appearance in federal court and consequent fines and possible jail time. Visitors should use extra caution when recreating on all public lands during times of the year when fire danger is increased.
Know Before You Go! Members of the public can find additional information through the following sources: