Image courtesy of Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests, near Beaver Creek
Summer hasn’t officially arrived, but, boy, it certainly feels like it…….. So, if you’re planning on skipping town soon and heading to the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests for some much cooler weather, we thought we’d pass along a friendly reminder from our friends there…..
And FYI, to learn more about forest fires, fire policy and the Wallow Fire, pick up the June issue of Arizona Highways — let’s just say, it’s eye-opening and heart-breaking.
The Apache-Sitgreaves National forests are busy preparing for the upcoming summer recreation season. Trails, roads, recreations areas and campsites have been assessed and work has been ongoing in preparation for the arrival of campers and outdoor enthusiasts. The stocking of fish to forest streams and lakes will begin in a few weeks. Some roads and highways are due to open as soon as next week.
The areas affected by the Wallow Fire last summer are already recovering and the Forest Service has cleared hazard trees from 289 miles of roads and aerial mulched and seeded 90,000 acres. Most of the most popular areas in the Wallow Fire perimeter were not damaged by the fire. The Apache-Sitgreaves Forests would like to welcome everyone back to the forest and has a few tips to help everyone have a safe and enjoyable experience.
- Look up, look down, look all around.
- Be aware of your surroundings.
- Do not camp near weakened trees that have dead limbs or have been burned and could fall into your campsite.
- Do not camp in low lying areas that may be prone to flooding during a rainstorm.
- Do keep your food stored away from your immediate camping area such as a car trunk so as not to encourage bears.
- When hiking stay on established trails and let someone know where you are going and when you will return.
Be especially cautious with fire and be aware of fire conditions and restrictions. Fire restrictions vary but most mean that no open fires are allowed except in established campgrounds with fire grills or pits. Some areas have prohibited all fires except gas or propane campstoves, some restrict all types of flame. You can check the current fire restrictions by calling 1-877-864-6985. Or you can check the restrictions by forest district by going to our website or calling (928) 333-4301.
Fire restrictions are often imposed in the dry months of May through early July on the forest. Because of winds, drought and high temperatures Arizona’s forests are particularly dry this year so please, be especially cautious with fire this year. NEVER LEAVE YOUR FIRE UNATTENDED AND STAY WITH IT UNTIL IT IS OUT COLD. For more campfire prevention tips go to http://www.smokeybear.com
Arizona Highways, June 2012
Last year, I watched the Wallow Fire burn firsthand, and I interviewed firefighters, foresters and fire-policy experts as part of my research for an article, A Burning Issue, which appears in this month’s edition of Arizona Highways. Arizona’s wildfire season has already begun, as you’ve seen from news coverage of the multiple fires that firefighters are battling as I write this. We’ll continue to monitor Arizona’s fire season, and I encourage you to do the same. The following excerpt from A Burning Issue reveals a bit of the debate over prescribed burns and other methods of fire management.
What’s your take on Arizona’s fire policy? Share your thoughts in the comment section below this post, or write us a note via Facebook or Twitter.
Timber sales. Owls. Road density. Prescribed burns. Public lands versus wild lands. Risk to firefighters. All of these and more are cogs in the fire-policy wheel, a slowly turning circle that won’t stop spinning anytime soon.
Prescribed burns became part and parcel of forest-health policies decades ago. Nevertheless, they’re a major sticking point in the debate.
“The American fire community accepted the need to reinstate fire a long time ago,” says Dr. Stephen Pyne, a Regents’ professor at Arizona State University and author of several books on national fire policy. “Prescribed burns, slashing and burning — those aren’t new controversies. The problem is making things happen on the ground. The whole point of national fire policy on federal lands over the past 40 years has been to increase the amount of burning. We’re getting it, so what’s the problem? People aren’t getting it the way they want.”
And that’s where identity politics come into play. Pyne contends that the issue has really been between certain categories of the business community and the politicians who represent them — those who want purely wild landscapes and those who want landscapes where people can work and live.
— Kelly Kramer, Managing Editor
To read the complete story, pick up a copy of the June issue of Arizona Highways, on newsstands now, or subscribe at www.arizonahighways.com.
Camping in the Chiricahua Mountains is prohibited indefinitely, due to the Horseshoe 2 Fire.
Due to the Horseshoe 2 Fire, all campgrounds in the Chiricahua Mountains are closed until further notice. They include:
Rustler Park Campground
Herb Martyr Campground
John Hands Campground
Sunny Flat Campground
Rucker Forest Camp Campground
Camp Rucker Group Site
South Fork Picnic Area
For more information, contact the Douglas Ranger District, 520-364-3468.