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Arizona forest area closed for fire prevention

PHOENIX — Extreme fire danger is forcing a weekslong closure of the Fossil Creek area.

The Coconino and Tonto National Forests will put the closure in place at 8 a.m. Friday. Affected areas will be Fossil Creek, Fossil Springs, Childs and the Fossil and Hackberry mountain area, which borders sections of the Verde River and State Route 260.

Brady Smith, a spokesman for the Coconino National Forest, said the area is some of most rugged country in the state and a wildfire would spread quickly there.

“If that happened and people were in that area it would very dangerous for those people. It’s basically one way in and one way out and gets crowded very quickly,” Smith said.

Individuals not adhering to current fire restrictions played a role in the decision to close the area until fire danger, Smith said. The closure is expected to last for several weeks until monsoons moderate extreme fire potential. A wildfire in the Fossil area could also become a major threat to homes.

An information hotline has been set up at 928-226-4611.