Parts of 2 Arizona national forests closing because of extreme wildfire danger

Jun 16, 2022, 8:00 PM

(Coconino National Forest Photo)...

(Coconino National Forest Photo)

(Coconino National Forest Photo)

PHOENIX – Parts of two northern Arizona national forests are closing to visitors temporarily to reduce the risk of human-caused wildfires, officials announced Thursday.

The Bill Williams Mountain area of Kaibab National Forest will be closed to public access starting at 8 a.m. Friday.

In addition, the Pumphouse Wash/Kelly Canyon and Fisher Point/Walnut Canyon areas of Coconino National Forest will be subject to full stage 3 closures starting at 8 a.m. Saturday.

“Closures and restrictions will be in effect until hot, dry conditions are no longer forecast to continue and the forests receives enough widespread precipitation to lower fire danger,” the National Forest Service said in a press release.

More closures could be implemented if forest managers think it’s necessary. Most of the state’s national forests are already under stage 2 restrictions.

The city of Flagstaff is also implementing stage 3 restrictions Friday morning.

The new precautionary closures are in addition to the emergency closure covering most of Coconino National Forest north of Interstate 40, which was implemented as part of the Pipeline Fire response.

The Bill Williams closure area is south of Interstate 40 near Williams and includes Benham Trail, Bixler Saddle Trail, Bill Williams Mountain Trail, Bill Williams Connector Trail, Buckskinner Trail, City of Williams Link Trail, Devil Dog Loop Trail and Clover Spring Loop Trail.

The Pumphouse Wash/Kelly Canyon closure covers a portion of the forest south of Flagstaff between Interstate 17 and State Highway 89A. It includes the Pumphouse Wash Dispersed Camping Area.

The Fisher Point/Walnut Canyon area is south of I-40 and east of Interstate 17. Fisher Point, Marshal Lake, portions of the Arizona National Scenic Trail, Canyon Vista Campground and Sandys Canyon Trail No. 137 are among the places impacted.

Forest Service personnel will attempt to notify people in the area to vacate before the closures go into effect. Violators are subject to fines of up to $5,000 and/or prison sentences of up to six months.

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Parts of 2 Arizona national forests closing because of extreme wildfire danger