UPDATE: Forest Re-Opens – Coconino National Forest Closed to the Public
Coconino NF to reopen to public 6 a.m. July 6; Stage 2 restrictions will be in effect
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz., July 5, 2021 — The Coconino National Forest will reopen to the public beginning 6 a.m. July 6.
Recreation technicians ask for patience as they work to remove gates, locks and barriers throughout the coming days.
The decision to reopen the forest was made based on the amount of recent rainfall that occurred across all three districts of the forest. Stage 2 fire restrictions will be in effect upon reopening.
Stage 2 restrictions prohibit the following:
- Igniting fires, campfires, charcoal, coal, smudge pots and wood stoves (except using a stove or grill that is solely fueled by pressurized liquid petroleum or pressurized liquid petroleum gas (LPG) fuels).
- Smoking (except within an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed recreation site, or while stopped in an area at least 3 feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of any flammable material).
- During the hours of 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., operating a chainsaw or other equipment powered by an internal combustion engine for felling, bucking, skidding, processing, road building and woodcutting during industrial operations or firewood gathering capable of igniting a fire.
- During the hours of 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., using a blasting, welding, or operating an acetylene or other torch with an open flame.
- Using explosives and fireworks is always prohibited on all National Forest land.
While the forest-wide closure will be lifted, specific closures around active wildfires – such as the Rafael Fire, Backbone Fire, Slate Fire and Snake Fire – may still be in effect. A full list of forest orders detailing specific closure areas is available on the Coconino NF’s website.
Fire danger remains extreme across all forest districts, and forest visitors are asked to remain vigilant and refrain from any behavior that may accidentally start a wildfire. Drivers should avoid dragging chains and driving vehicles over dry vegetation that may ignite.
Violation of the restrictions on national forests is punishable by a fine of up to $5,000, imprisonment up to six months, or both.
Coconino NF going into full closure on Wednesday at 8 a.m.
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz., June 21, 2021 — Due to fire danger, dry conditions, and persistent wildfire activity during a time when firefighting resources are sparse, the entirety of Coconino National Forest will close for public safety, beginning Wednesday (June 23) at 8 a.m.
A full forest closure means that the public is prohibited from entering any part of Coconino National Forest at any time. Only those with private inholdings will be allowed access to their property, as well as personnel providing utility support where necessary, and firefighters performing their duties.
Forest Service personnel will attempt to reach as many people as possible to begin vacating campsites and informing individuals who are camping in the forest currently. Campers and visitors to the national forest should vacate their campsites before the closure begins, and the public should cancel any plans for visiting the Coconino National Forest for the next several weeks.
Though parts of the national forest may receive rain from sporadic storms over the next couple of weeks, this closure will not be rescinded until sufficient precipitation is received to adequately reduce the risk of wildfire, and hot, dry weather conditions are no longer forecast to continue. In short, this closure will continue until conditions are such that the closure can be lifted.
Work on thinning and other forest and watershed restoration projects will cease. Partner agencies, organizations, concessionaires, outfitters, permit holders, and contractors, are all prohibited from entering the national forest.
Violating closures and fire restrictions is a violation that carries a mandatory appearance in federal court, punishable as a Class B misdemeanor with a fine of up to $5,000 for an individual or $10,000 for an organization, or up to six months in prison, or both.
Official news release at https://conta.cc/3zJQOG7