Tonto Forest Restrictions, Closures Lifted

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The Tonto National Forest has lifted all fire restrictions and closures, however access to areas burned by the Cave Creek and Edge Complex fires is limited.

The restrictions and closures were dropped after increased moisture and humidity from recent monsoon rains curtailed fire danger, Vincent Picard, Tonto National Forest deputy public affairs officer said.

The western half of the Superstition Mountains, the Sycamore Creek and Rolls areas along Highway 87, and Fossil Creek in the northern Cave Creek District have all been reopened.

"We want to thank everyone for their patience and understanding," Tonto Forest Supervisor Gene Blankenbaker said. "We also appreciate our users supporting and observing the rules; we had a difficult fire season that was made a little easier by the small number of human-caused fires."

Some areas burned by the Cave Creek and Edge Complex fires are still closed for the public's safety and to allow damaged lands to recover Picard said.

The lightning-caused Edge Complex Fire consumed 71,661 acres last month.

Before monsoon rains and firefighters extinguished it, the fire threatened the communications center on Mt. Ord and forced the evacuation of Sunflower and several communities around Tonto Basin.

The Cave Creek Complex Fire was started by lightning on June 21. It burned 248,310 acres and put Pine and Strawberry on pre-evacuation alert.

Through June, the fire season was slightly above average in the Southwest. A total of 2,361 fires occurred through June of 2005 compared to an average of 2,289.

For more information, visit the Tonto National Forest website at www.fs.fed.us/r3/tonto or call (602) 225-5200.

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