Five National Forests in Arizona have closed. During the last six months, much of the west has experienced extreme drought. Arizona is no exception to that rule. Extreme fire danger, continuing dry conditions, and current active wildfires have prompted the closures of these lands.
The state warns that violators of the closures could face fines and/or prison time. Below we will list each closure and some information regarding the lands.
Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest
The full closure of this National Forest started on June 24, at 6 a.m. Announcements of this closure came after NFS officials counted more the 24 fires being started within Forest lands. The closure is expected to last until Sept. 1st, barring some kind of decision to open it sooner.
Coconino National Forest
On June 23, at 8 a.m. officials closed the entire, 1.8 million-acre, national forest to everyone. Likewise, officials have been doing their best to notify everyone in the forest that it is now closed. They have begun hanging signs and patrolling the area to find people that may have been camping in the area. They will also be closing the main entry gates until Sept. 1st.
Coronado National Forest
At this time this is the only National Forest in the state that is currently not closed. However, this Forest currently has Stage II fire restrictions. Those restrictions mean no smoking, shooting guns, fireworks, or campfires are allowed in the Forest.
Kaibab National Forest
The Kaibab National Forest closed on Wednesday, June 23, at 8 a.m. Only private landowners (with permission) and first responders are allowed within the Forest lands. Officials have no reopening date currently and are seeming to take a wait-and-see approach before giving a hard date. This closure will not affect the Grand Canyon.
Prescott National Forest
This closure took effect on Friday, June 25. This closure is expected to last for at least several weeks. However, access to Granite Basin Lake, Lynx Lake, and Goldwater Lake will be available for guests.
Tonto National Forest
Most of the Tonto National Forest shut down on Friday, June 25, at 8 a.m. You can still access Roosevelt Lake, the southern part of Apache Lake, Bartlett Reservoir around the dam, Canyon Lake, Saguaro Lake, Tortilla Flat Restaurant, Houston Mesa campground, and Roosevelt Lake View Mobile Home Park. For more access information you can click here.
On top of these closures, Arizona also closed more than 9 million acres of state trust lands to hunting, camping, and off-roading.
What are your thoughts on these closures? Did your plans get ended due to the closures? Let us know in the comments!