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Tonto National Forest closing areas ahead of potential flash flooding

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

PHOENIX — Closures in the areas impacted by the Bush Fire will be reinstated, the U.S. Forest Service announced Friday.

The newest order, which will go in the effect on Saturday at noon, is due to potential flash flooding expected over the weekend.

The closure will last until March 15, 2021, or until it is rescinded at an earlier date.

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.

“The Tonto National Forest is committed to protecting the public and is making this decision based on the best available reports from meteorologists and the Burned Area Emergency Response team post-fire assessments,” Acting Forest Supervisor Tom Torres said in a press release.

“Leaving this area open during the storm not only endangers the public but it puts our employees and partners at risk if they have to respond to a distress call.”

The Bush Fire, which was sparked by a vehicle fire in June, burned about 192,412 acres of the Tonto forest. It was fully contained on July 4.

Stage 1 fire restrictions are currently in place across the forest, meaning campfires are only allowed in developed sites and no target shooting is allowed.

#TontoNF officials are reinstating the original Bush Fire area closure area to protect the public from an incoming…

Posted by U.S. Forest Service-Tonto National Forest on Thursday, October 22, 2020

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