The fire danger in the Tonto National Forest is at an all-time high, forest officials said this week when announcing that additional sections of the forest would be closed today (Friday). More sections of the Coconino, Kaibab and Apache-Sitgreaves forests also were closed today.
"These are the worst conditions we've seen period," Jim Payne, a public information officer for the U.S. Forest Service, said. "It was bad in 1990 during the Dude Fire, and 1996 was bad. But currently, we're finding even worse conditions than existed during those periods."
Tonto area closures include:
About 170,000 acres within the Payson and Pleasant Valley Ranger Districts.
The boundaries start at the Coconino National Forest east of Strawberry and run south around Strawberry Mountain east of the Beeline Highway.
Closures continue south to Payson, east on Highway 260 to the Little Green Valley area, south around Christopher Mountain, and then east through Naegelin Canyon, rounding out along the Fort Apache and Tonto Forest boundary and the Mogollon Rim.
About 80,000 acres of the Coon Creek Fire and Sierra Ancha Wilderness areas between Cherry Creek Road and State Route 288, about 25 miles northwest of Globe.
About 65,000 acres of the Pinal Mountains just south of Globe.
The recreation areas along the Salt and Verde rivers and the Sonoran Desert areas, including Roosevelt Lake, will remain open with picnic and campfires allowed.
While more than 50 campgrounds in the Tonto will remain open, 18 will be closed.
There is a ban on all campfires and charcoal fires in the area north of Roosevelt Lake and Four Peaks, and east of the Mazatzal Mountains.
The area closed is about 315,000 acres, or 11 percent, of the Tonto's total land area.
The closures prohibit entry except by private property owners and those with special permits.
Recreation area closures
Closed areas are off limits to everyone except area property owners and the holders of special use permits. Restricted areas are open to the public, but include fire, smoking and equipment limitations.
Tonto National Forest closures
Second Crossing Campground
Sharp Creek Campground
Flowing Springs Campground
Third Crossing Campground
Verde Glen Campground
Airplane Flat Campground
Upper Canyon Creek Campground
Valentine Ridge Campground
Icehouse CCC Campground
Lower Pinal Campground
Pioneer Pass Campground
Sulfide del Rey Campground
Upper Pinal Campground
- Most campgrounds in the Tonto National Forest remain open. A total of 18 campgrounds will be closed within the closure area. The recreation areas along the chain of lakes on the Salt and Verde rivers and the Sonoran Desert areas of the Tonto National Forest remain open. Picnic and camping fires are allowed. Open campfires are banned in all areas where fire restrictions have been imposed.
Coconino National Forest closures
Knoll Lake Campground
Dry Lake Hills
Lava River Cave
Mormon Mountain between Morman Lake and Munds Park
Upper West Clear Creek
The Fossil Creek Wilderness Area, including Knoll Lake and Kehl Springs Campgrounds and Milk Ranch Point.
Mar M Canyon
West Fork of Oak Creek
- All of the developed campgrounds within the closed areas, except Knoll Lake and Kehl Springs, remain open, but all open fires are prohibited. Stoneman Lake Road will be open for through traffic between I-17 and Forest Highway 3. Schnebly Hill Road will be open for through traffic only between Sedona and I-17.
Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest closures
KP Cienega Campground
West Fork Campground south of Big Lake
Bear Canyon Lake
Chevelon Canyon Lake
Black Canyon Lake
Black Canyon Rim Campground
The Escudilla Mountain Wilderness
The Bear Wallow Wilderness
The Blue Range Primitive Area between the Blue River and Highway 191
- The Mount Baldy Wilderness, Hannagan Meadow Lodge and Highways 260, 60, 191, 273, 373, and 261 will remain open.
Kaibab National Forest closures
Bill Williams Mountain
Portions of Forest Trail 6 South Canyon Trail
Forest Trail 57 Saddle Mountain Trail System
Forest Trail 31 Saddle Mountain Trail System
Kendrick Mountain Wilderness
Sycamore Canyon Wilderness
Forest Development Road 610 from the junction of 610 and Forest Development Road 611 south and east to the terminus of FDR 610
Forest Development Road 8910 south of the Buffalo Ranch junction
- All developed campgrounds at Kaibab Lake, Dogtown Lake, Cataract Lake and Whitehorse Lake, and the Ten-X Campground will remain open, but all open fires are prohibited.
- Elephant Rock Golf Course and the Grand Canyon Railroad will continue to operate with smoking restrictions.
- Jacob Lake and Demotte Campgrounds are open, as are Kaibab Lodge, Jacob Lake Inn and Camper Village.
Fool Hollow State Park no campfires are permitted.
Slide Rock State Park open with no restrictions.
All other state parks are open with no closures or restrictions.
Grand Canyon Campfires prohibited except in provided rings in established campgrounds. Smoking is not restricted. The following areas of the canyon have been temporarily closed: Point Imperial and adjoining trails, Ken Patrick Trail, Widforss Trail, Nankoweap Trail above Tilted Mesa, and all other fire roads on the North Rim.
Petrified Forest Open fires are prohibited year-round. Smoking is not restricted.
Tumacacori No smoking year round. No other fire restrictions in effect
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge Fires are limited to camp stoves only in posted campgrounds. Campfires and other sources of open flame are not allowed.
Low-cost rabies clinic June 17
Cases of rabies continue to be reported in northern Gila County, according to officers from the Rabies Control Department. Already this spring, several bats and foxes have tested positive for the disease.
To combat the spread of rabies, Rabies Control is once again teaming up with the Payson Animal Control Department and Dr. Alan Hallman of the Star Valley Veterinary Clinic to offer a low-cost rabies clinic from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. June 17 at Payson Town Hall.
Rabies shots will be available for $8 per pet.
Arizona law requires that all dogs 4 months and older be vaccinated for rabies by a licensed veterinarian and licensed in their county of residence. The rabies tag issued by the doctor is not a county license.
County licenses also will be available for $7 each for spayed or neutered animals, or $15 for unaltered pets. Town licenses cost $3 for each pet; $7 if not spayed or neutered.
In addition to state law, vaccination and licenses provide pet owners with valuable identification if their pets become lost.
For more information, call rabies control at 474-1210.