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In fire-prevention mode, Eastern Arizona forest officials close some areas

PHOENIX — Several areas inside the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest have been closed temporarily as of Wednesday morning as a fire-prevention measure.

Cathy Dowd, a spokeswoman with the Forest Service, said the largest closure area is on the Lakeside and Black Mesa Ranger Districts near Show Low, Pinedale, Clay Springs and Linden. Most of this area was the site of the 2002 Rodeo/Chediski wildfire.

The Timber Mesa/Porter Mountain area to the east of Show Low is being closed to protect a communications site that serves most federal, state, county and local law enforcement and private companies. Public safety is dependent upon this communications site.

“This area has several miles of heavily-used trails through forest with a substantial fuel load placing it at higher risk of wildfire,” Dowd said.

The closures will remain in effect until the area gets substantial rainfall, Dowd said.