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Most of Tonto National Forest closing Thursday due to fire concerns

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

PHOENIX — Most areas within Tonto National Forest are closing ahead of Fourth of July weekend in an effort to limit the potential for wildfires.

The forest will close Thursday at 6 a.m. and remain closed until at least July 31, unless the order is lifted before that date.

Forest officials said dry conditions, hot temperatures and previous fire damage this year were factors in the decision.

About 225,000 acres have burned in Tonto National Forest this fire season, most due to the human-caused Bush Fire, which was sparked by a vehicle fire June 13.

“Steps to minimize the risk of fires and the danger to people are more important than recreation at the moment,” Neil Bosworth, the forest’s supervisor, said in a press release.

A select number of recreation areas and roads will remain open during the forest’s closure:

  • Roosevelt Lake
  • Bartlett Resevoir
  • Canyon Lake
  • Saguaro Lake and Lower Salt River
  • Tortilla Flat Restaurant
  • Roosevelt Lakeview Mobile Home Park
  • Bush Highway (FR 204)
  • FR 19 to Bartlett Reservoir Jojoba Boat Launch and Bartlett Marina
  • FR 459A to Rattlesnake Day Use Area
  • FR 459 to Yellow Cliffs Boat Launch and SB Cove Day Use Area
  • FR 582 from SR 87 to the Buckhead Mesa Landfill
  • FR 583 from SR 87 to Tonto Natural Bridge State Park

Violators could receive a fine of up to $5,000 for an individual or $10,000 for an organization, imprisonment of up to six months, or both.

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