Unstable conditions caused by heavy rains following the Boundary Fire, which was active through much of June, have necessitated continuing the closure of the burned area on and around Kendrick Mountain on both the Kaibab and Coconino National Forests in order to ensure public safety.
Due to approaching opening dates for several big game hunts in northern Arizona, officials with the U.S. Forest Service and the Arizona Game and Fish Department are working jointly to alert the public and hunters of the Boundary Fire Closure that remains in effect in a portion of Game Management Unit 7W.
Weakened timber, debris flows and flooding can be a common occurrence in steep terrain after a wildfire event. Above normal monsoonal precipitation has been occurring on the mountain, which could lead to sudden hazards and potential risks to public safety. Roads, hiking trails and sensitive drainages may experience higher than usual volumes of sediment delivery and runoff, potentially making the environment unpredictable and unsafe.
Actions are underway by Forest Service officials to assess and mitigate safety concerns that are identified during this immediate post-fire period. However, it is anticipated that the closure will remain in effect through the monsoons, as the active weather pattern and heavy rains that have been occurring provide the opportunity to surface potential public health and safety hazards.
“We acknowledge the inconvenience this temporary closure of Kendrick Mountain may cause, however limiting exposure at this time is necessary to ensure public safety,” said Kaibab National Forest Supervisor Heather Provencio. “It is our intention to reopen the area as soon as possible. However, we also need to allow time for moisture to dissipate and the environment to begin its natural stabilization. It is our responsibility and obligation to consider life, health and safety first and foremost in these kinds of circumstances, and we appreciate the public’s cooperation and support.”
Hunters and other forest visitors are reminded to always check local conditions when planning a trip into the backcountry or wilderness. Weather can change rapidly and, in the process, dynamically alter ground surfaces in all types of terrain with very little warning.
Visitors can check with any of the following agency offices to get the latest information regarding the closure and current conditions.
Kaibab National Forest Supervisor’s Office: 928-635-8200, www.fs.usda.gov/kaibab
Coconino National Forest Supervisor’s Office: 928-527-3600, www.fs.usda.gov/coconino
Arizona Game and Fish Department: 928-774-5045, www.azgfd.com/hunting/units/flagstaff/7/