Arizona’s monsoon season brings with it the potential for lightning, heavy rains and flooding. Visitors to the Tonto National Forest are encouraged to check weather forecasts prior to enjoying their favorite recreation activities this summer, and plan your visit accordingly.
Safety awareness tips include:
- Monitor the weather
- At home, local radio and television stations relay watch and warning information.
- On the go, you can use your cell phone and NOAA weather radio to receive weather warnings. Ensure you have NOAA weather radio coverage before hiking or swimming in remote locations.
- Issuance of flash flood watch (conditions are favorable) – be prepared to move to higher ground.
- Issuance of flash flood warning (flooding imminent or in progress) – immediately move to higher ground if near waterways.
- Steep terrain and mountainous areas are especially prone to rapid runoff during monsoon storms.
- May result in flash flooding miles downstream from where rain is falling.
- Avoid streams and slot canyons during and after storms.
- If you hear thunder or see lightning while outdoors, seek shelter in an enclosed structure if possible; avoid open areas and trees.
Check www.weather.gov for official National Weather Service forecasts, watches and warnings before leaving the house and venturing into uncontrolled natural environments, the forest and waterways.
The National Weather Service also provides quick updates via social media platforms for different areas of the state, which the public can sign up to follow or check on any computer connected to the Internet:
- Northern Arizona area:
- Phoenix area:
- Tucson area:
Monsoon rain may fall on some areas of the Tonto National Forest, leaving other areas dry. The Forest requires significant rainfall to overcome the existing drought conditions. For this reason, area closures as well as Stage II fire restrictions remain in effect on the Tonto National Forest. Detailed information is available online at: https://www.fs.usda.gov/main/tonto/home.
Fines & punishments for violating fire restrictions/closures:
- Violating Stage II fire restrictions or going into a closed area is a violation that carries a mandatory appearance in federal court.
- Violation of these restrictions is punishable as a Class B misdemeanor, which means a fine of up to $5,000 for an individual or $10,000 for an organization, or imprisonment of up to six months, or both.
- Fines and punishments are determined by a federal court judge.
For more information on:
Officials also remind the public that fireworks are prohibited year-round on federal lands.