(Posted June 5, 2012 at 1:30 p.m.) The Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests are proposing the implementation of a temporary safety closure in the areas of the 2002 Rodeo/Chediski fire, Show Low South and the Timber Mesa.
The temporary closure will provide for public and firefighter safety and to protect private property. The closure will be implemented Friday, June 8.
The Rodeo-Chediski fire area consisted of severe, moderate to light burning on the landscape of the western portion of the Lakeside Ranger District and the eastern portion of the Black Mesa Ranger District. Since that time grass and down and dead rotting pine trees have become the major fuel bed. Conditions are now conducive to a fast moving wildland fire occurring in the area which is a Wildland Urban Interface.
An area known as Show Low South adjacent to The Rodeo-Chediski is also at risk of a severe wildland fire moving into a highly populated Wildland Urban Interface Area. The Interface area will be closed south of Arizona State Highway 260.
The Timber Mesa area has several miles of motorized and non-motorized trails which are heavily used this time of year. Timber Mesa and Porter Mountain’s fuel conditions could lead to a catastrophic fire in the area. Also centered in the closure area is the communications site at the top of Porter Mountain.
Any fire start in the proposed closure area poses a safety risk to the public and to fire fighters. Having the public in this area is a risk for fire starts. The public would be prohibited from entering the area.
Stage II fire restrictions and this area closure will remain in place until lands within Apache and Navajo Counties receive significant precipitation.
White Mountain visitors and locals are reminded that some campfire restrictions are always in effect, such as in forested areas within city limits of most northern Arizona communities. Additionally, fireworks are never allowed on National Forests. For more information about restrictions on public lands, call toll free 1-877-864-6985 or visit (http://www.publiclands.org/firenews/AZ.php and www.593info.org) or by dialing 593 or 928-333-3412.
Violation of the prohibitions is punishable by a fine of not more than $10,000, imprisonment for more than six months, or both. Fireworks are always prohibited on National Forest land. Arizona state lands have imposed their own restrictions separately.
(Source: Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests)