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Fire closures at 4 national forests in Arizona to be lifted this week

(Facebook/U.S. Forest Service-Tonto National Forest)

PHOENIX — Fire restrictions put in place at four national forests in Arizona were being lifted this week after the onset of monsoon activity raised humidity levels enough to make for safer conditions.

Coconino National Forest said all of its fire restrictions and area closures were being lifted, while Kaibab National Forest said its stage II fire restrictions in the forest’s Williams and Tusayan ranger districts south of the Grand Canyon will be lifted.

“We had an incredibly low number of human-caused wildfire starts on the forest despite being in extreme fire danger and having one of the driest periods on record in many years,” Art Gonzales, fire staff officer for Kaibab National Forest, said.

The Prescott National Forest also announced it would lift all fire restrictions and the area closure on the Bradshaw Ranger District by 8 a.m. on Friday.

At Tonto National Forest, campfire and smoking restrictions will be lifted by 8 a.m. Friday as well.

However, recreational target shooting at some areas of the forest were still prohibited until there is more rain.

“We want to thank everyone for their compliance while restrictions and closures were in effect on the Tonto National Forest.  It was an exceptionally dry year, and we appreciate everyone’s efforts to prevent wildfires,” Forest Supervisor Neil Bosworth said in a statement.

The Forest Service said firefighters were continuing to put out small lightning fires in the Tonto forest caused by monsoon storms.

Certain recreation sites in the Cave Creek, Globe, Mesa and Tonto Basin ranger districts will remain under Stage I fire restrictions until the entire forest receives widespread rain.

These restrictions meant wood and charcoal campfires will only be permitted in metal rings and pedestal grills provided by the Forest Service.

The restrictions were first put in place in April. The Forest Service then closed certain areas of the forest before Memorial Day weekend.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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