The Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests (ASNFs) 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 fire fighter 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 AZ State Hwy 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.
The proposed closure area is now in the 97th percentile for Energy Release Component Charts which means only 3% of the 3,063 days that weather observations have been taken in the past 15 years have been this high.
Any fire start in the area poses a safety risk to the public and to fire fighters.
Stage II fire restrictions and this area closure will remain in place until lands within Apache and Navajo Counties receive significant precipitation.
What do Stage II fire restrictions mean to campers on the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests? NO CAMPFIRES ARE ALLOWED IN DEVELOPED CAMPSITES OR WHEN DISPERSE CAMPING.
A few more do’s and don’ts…
What’s NOT ALLOWED:
· Building, maintaining, attending, or using a fire, campfire, charcoal, coal, or wood stove fire.
The use of petroleum-fueled stoves, lanterns, or heating devices are allowed provided such devices meet the fire underwriter’s specifications for safety. Liquid petroleum and LPG stoves that can be turned on and off are allowed.
· Using an explosive.
· 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 all flammable material.
· Possessing, discharging or using any kind of firework or other pyrotechnic device.
· Welding, or operating an acetylene, or other torch with open flame.
· Operating or using any internal or external combustion engine without a spark arresting device properly installed, maintained and in effective working order.
· Operating a chainsaw between the hours of 9 a.m. and 8 p.m. is prohibited; chain saws may be used between the hours of 8:01 p.m. and 8:59 a.m.
· Persons with a Forest Service permit specifically authorizing the otherwise prohibited act or omission.
· Any Federal, State or Local Officer or member of an organized rescue firefighting force in the performance of an official duty.
· Persons in motor vehicles on existing Forest Service system roads or trail are exempted.