Humphreys Peak Reopens After Fire Concern Closure

Humphreys Peak has reopened following a two week closure due to fire cocerns.

Official Press Release:

For Immediate Release

June 30, 2006

Contact: Forest Closure Info Center – 928-226-4601

Flagstaff, AZ – Most of the Coconino National Forest will reopen to public access at 8:00 A.M. Sunday, July 2, thanks to enough rainfall to sufficiently dampen the extreme fire danger. The Red Rock Ranger District, essentially the portion of the Coconino below the Mogollon Rim, will remain closed until that area of the forest receives more rain. The entire Coconino National Forest has been under closure since Friday, June 23.

“Our Forest Information Center received over 1,000 calls over the past 10 days inquiring about the forest closure. We appreciate everyone’s patience and cooperation while the Forest Service employed this ultimate fire prevention strategy,” said Nora Rasure, Coconino National Forest Supervisor. “The forest closure was effective. No human caused wildfires have been reported on the Coconino so far during the closure.”

The boundaries of Red Rock Ranger District are roughly described as northeast of the Verde River, west of a meandering line between the junction of Highways 87 and 260 to Stoneman Lake, south of where Interstate 17 drops off the rim, and east of Sycamore Canyon. Included in the closure area are: Stoneman Lake, Fossil Springs Wilderness, western half of West Clear Creek Wilderness, Beaver Creek, Wet Beaver Creek Wilderness, Munds Mountain Wilderness, Red Rock Secret Mountain Wilderness, all Forest Service campgrounds, picnic areas and trailheads in Oak Creek Canyon. Private land owners who access their property through closed areas of the National Forest must obtain a permit from the district office that manages the adjacent National Forest System lands. To receive an entry permit, individuals and organizations need to provide photo identification and proof of residence.

The following restrictions are still in effect on the open areas of the Coconino National Forest:

* Campfires—including charcoal fires—are prohibited, including in developed recreation sites. Pressurized liquid or gas stoves, lanterns and heaters are allowed.
* Operating a chainsaw for personal use with a firewood permit is prohibited between 9:00 A.M. and 8:00 P.M.
* No smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle or building, or developed recreation site.
* Welding is prohibited.
* Using an explosive is prohibited.
* Operating any internal or external combustion engine without a spark arrester is prohibited.
* Operating a motor vehicle off National Forest System roads is prohibited, except when parking in an area cleared of vegetation, and except in the Cinder Hills Off-Highway Vehicle Area north of Flagstaff.
* Fireworks are ALWAYS prohibited on national forest lands.

Violations are punishable by a fine of not more that $5000, or imprisonment for not more than six months, or both. These restrictions will remain in place until enough precipitation falls to further decrease fire danger. For further information about closures and restrictions in the Coconino National Forest, call 928-226-4601 between 7:00 A.M. and 7:00 P.M, or visit www.fs.fed.us/r3/coconino. For information on fire restrictions on all public lands in Arizona, call toll-free 1-877-864-6985, or see http://www.azfireinfo.com.

Earlier Press Release on closure:

June 19, 2006

Contact: Forest Closure Info Center – 928-226-4601

Flagstaff, AZ – As fire danger increases across the Southwest the Coconino National Forest will close to public access and use Friday, morning, June 23 at 8:00 a.m..

Effective Friday, the Coconino National Forest will close to public access. Conditions have warranted closure of the entire national forest. Closures in the past have proven to be an effective means of reducing the number of human-caused fires.

“While campfire and smoking restrictions have been effective in terms of minimizing the number of fires, we are at the point that we cannot afford the risk of any human-caused fires,” says Coconino Forest Supervisor Nora Rasure. “Several recent fires have exhibited extreme fire behavior, including the Woody and Brins Fires. We are not only concerned about the risk to communities and natural resources, we are concerned about the potential difficulties evacuating recreationists from remote areas should a wildfire start.”

Included in the Coconino closures:

All campgrounds, day use picnic areas and cabins on the forest.
All trails on the Coconino National Forest.
All lakes, including Lake Mary, Ashurst Lake, Kinnikinick Lake, Blue Ridge Reservoir, Stoneman Lake.
Cinder Hills Off-Highway Vehicle Area north of Flagstaff.
St. Joseph’s Youth Camp near Mormon Lake.
Arizona Snowbowl Skyride.
All National Forest System Roads will be closed, but all interstates, state and county roads through the Coconino National Forest will remain open.
Sedona and Flagstaff still offer many summer attractions and activities. Private campgrounds and the campground at Fort Tuthill County Park near Flagstaff will remain open with campfire and smoking restrictions. All Forest Service offices and visitor centers will be open. The closure will be lifted when sufficient precipitation is received to adequately reduce the risk of wildfire to a manageable level, and hot, dry weather conditions are not forecast to continue.

For further information about closures and restrictions in the Coconino National Forest, call
928-226-4601 or toll-free 1-877-864-6985 between 6:00 A.M. and 10:00 P.M. Information is posted on the internet at http://www.fs.fed.us/r3/coconino.
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