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Thu, Aug. 05

Kaibab and Coconino national forests reopen to public entry
Fire restrictions and area closures remain in place

Sycamore Canyon in Kaibab National Forest. (Photo/USFS)

Sycamore Canyon in Kaibab National Forest. (Photo/USFS)

WILLIAMS, Ariz. - Kaibab and Coconino national forests have rescinded their full forest closures as of July 6 at 6 a.m.

Although most of the forest is now open to public entry, Stage II Fire Restrictions and the Bill Williams Mountain closure will remain in place. In addition, an area closure is in place for the Rafael Fire.

Recreation technicians ask for patience as they work to remove gates, locks and barriers throughout the coming days.

The decision to reopen the forests was based on the amount of recent rainfall that occurred across the forests.

Officials said recent rain has increased live fuel moisture levels and when combined with the recent cooler temperatures, has reduced the risk of severe fire.

However, the persistent drought means fire danger is still very high, and the forecast calls for warm and dry weather with isolated thunderstorms bringing dry lightning. The public is reminded to remain vigilant while visiting the national forests – abide by the restrictions and closures and refrain from any behavior that may accidentally start a wildfire. Drivers should avoid dragging chains and driving vehicles over dry vegetation, and visitors should stay informed of forest conditions before and during visits.

Stage II Fire Restrictions

Under Stage II restrictions, fires (including charcoal and briquettes) are prohibited on all national forest lands. Smoking is also prohibited forest-wide except within an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed recreation site, or while stopped in an area at least 3 feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of any flammable material.

The following acts are prohibited from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.: Operating a generator, chainsaw or other equipment powered by an internal combustion engine; using an explosive; blasting, welding, or operating any acetylene or other torch with an open flame.

Stoves or grills that are solely fueled by pressurized liquid petroleum or pressurized liquid petroleum gas (LPG) fuels are allowed. Generators with approved spark arresting devices are also permitted in areas that are barren or cleared of any flammable material at least 3 feet around the generator.

Bill Williams Mountain Closure Area

The Bill Williams Mountain closure are includes all USFS lands, roads and trails within the area bordered by County Road (CR) 73, Old Route 66, Forest Road (FR) 122, FR 108 and Interstate 40. This includes the following trails: Bill Williams Trail, Clover Spring Trail, City of Williams Link Trail, Bixler Saddle Trail, Benham Trail and Devil Dog Mountain Bike Loop.

Rafael Fire Closure

For public safety, an area closure is in effect for the Raphael Fire in and around Sycamore Canyon. On the Kaibab National Forest, the closure area is generally bordered by Forest Roads 125, 105, 12, 109, and 13.

Included in the closure area are the following popular locations: JD Dam, Yew Thicket Trailhead (TH), Deadman TH, Pomeroy Tanks TH, Sycamore Falls TH, Sycamore Rim TH’s, Canyon Overlook Trail (#70), Sycamore Rim Trail (#45), portions of the Overland Road Historic Trail (#133), and roads to Sycamore Point.

Roads bordering the closure area are open. White Horse Lake and campground are also open.

While the forest-wide closure will be lifted, specific closures around active wildfires – including the Backbone Fire, Slate Fire, Snake Fire and Rafael Fire – may still be in effect. A full list Coconino National Forest orders detailing specific closure areas is available at fs.usda.gov/coconino

All Kaibab National Forest Orders can be found online at fs.usda.gov/alerts/kaibab/alerts- notices. Additional information about the Kaibab National Forest is available through the Fire Information Hotline, (928) 635-8311, or by following @KaibabNF on Twitter and Facebook.

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