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Forest officials close popular Arizona lake campground over fire worry

(Twitter Photo)

PHOENIX – A high risk of fire has pushed forest officials in Arizona to close a campground at Roosevelt Lake just outside of Phoenix starting Tuesday.

Carrie Templin, a spokeswoman for the Tonto National Forest, told KTAR News 93.3 FM that Bermuda Flat’s shoreline area would be temporarily off limits to vehicles, citing public safety.

Winter rains have filled the lake to 75 percent capacity. “There is no shoreline,” for campers, Templin said, but that hasn’t stopped campers from parking close to shrubs and trees.

Weeds and grasses are drying out, creating more potential fuel for a fire.

“(The high water is) a wonderful thing for fisher people and for the city of Phoenix for our drinking water and for our farmers, who need that water for their irrigation,” Templin said.

Rangers reported two small human-caused fires over Easter weekend. There have been five other similar fires in the forest in less than two weeks.

The department hasn’t specified how long the ban would be in place, only that it would end once the lake had gone down enough, possibly when monsoon season gets underway.

Monsoon season, with its high humidity, general begins June 15 and runs through September.

Public utility company Salt River Project could need the water before then, which would reduce the levels.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Madison Spence contributed to this report.

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