Some hunting units within the Tonto National Forest may be closed after an unusually active wildfire season in central Arizona.
Significant flooding and debris flows are possible in recent burn areas because of vegetation loss in steep and erosive soils. The purpose of these post-fire closure orders is to protect public health and safety during the time that the area is at increased risk of post-fire flood events that could cause significant injury or death.
Dry washes and valley drainages should be avoided during heavy rain. Flash floods can occur within minutes after the onset of a rainstorm. Even areas that are not traditionally flood prone are at risk after a wildfire because of changes to the landscape. Fires result in loss of vegetation, exposure of soil to erosion, and increased water runoff that may lead to flooding, increased sediment, debris flows, and damage to critical natural and cultural resources.
The following fire areas have active closure orders:
Bush Fire: Hunting Unit 22
Hidden Fire: Hunting Unit 23S
Salt Fire: Hunting Unit 24A/24B
Superstition Fire: Hunting Unit 24B
Stage 1 Fire Restrictions are still in effect across all the Tonto National Forest. These restrictions include:
• Igniting, building, maintaining, attending or using a fire, campfire, or stove fire other than in a developed campsite or picnic area.
• Smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed recreation site, or while stopped in an area at least three feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of any flammable material.
• Discharging a firearm, air rifle, or gas gun. Persons engaged in legal hunting activity are allowed to discharge a firearm while taking wildlife.
Special restrictions for off-road motor vehicle use are also in effect, which may affect big game retrieval.
For information on forest fire closure areas and fire restrictions, contact the Payson Ranger District, 1009 E. Highway 260, 928-474-7900.
To view current closure orders with maps, visit the Alerts and Notices section of the Tonto National Forest website at https://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/tonto/alerts-notices.