Since June 2002 when the Rodeo-Chediski Fire burned on the White Mountain Apache Reservation and on the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests, dead, standing trees have been falling over as the trees have decayed.
The burned area on the national forests has been closed to overnight camping since the fire, due to the danger to campers from the falling trees. Now the Forest Service is allowing camping which signals another phase in the restoration of the forest.
"We're pleased to be able to open up the burned area to overnight camping," said Lakeside District Ranger Ed Collins. "Although there still will be trees falling down over time, we feel more comfortable now in allowing camping. We have removed many of the trees that were especially hazardous along roadways and traditional camp locations and nature has removed many more trees throughout the burned area," he said.
Motorists will still be required to stay on the road system marked by white arrows as the forest restoration process continues.