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Tonto National Forest to close before Fourth of July weekend due to wildfire concerns

Posted at 1:58 PM, Jun 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-30 18:07:03-04

PHOENIX — The Tonto National Forest, the largest national forest in Arizona, will close on Thursday morning because of concerns surrounding the recent wildfires and current wildfire conditions, officials said Tuesday. However, some of the popular recreation sites and tourist destinations will remain open.

The closures go into effect at 6 a.m. on July 2, 2020 and will remain in effect until July 30, unless rescinded or extended.

“We are currently seeing record-setting fire danger conditions and new fire starts have become increasingly difficult to control. This closure represents the best option at this time to deal with these conditions, and both reduce risk to the public and protect their forest lands for the future," said Taiga Rohrer, Tonto National Forest Fire Management Officer, in a statement.

According to the order, the following areas will remain open to the public (view more specific directions, here):

  • Roosevelt Lake
  • Bartlett Reservoir
  • Canyon Lake
  • Saguaro Lake and Lower Salt River
  • Tortilla Flat restaurant
  • Roosevelt Lakeview Mobile Home Park

The following roads will also remain open:

  • Bush Highway (FR 204)
  • FR 19 to Bartlett Reservoir Jojoba Boat Launch and Bartlett Marina
  • FR 459A to Rattlesnake Day Use Area
  • FR 459 to Yellow Cliffs Boat Launch and SB Cove Day Use Area
  • FR 582 from SR 87 to the Buckhead Mesa Landfill
  • FR 583 from SR 87 to Tonto Natural Bridge State Park

More than 224,000 acres have reportedly burned within the Tonto National Forest so far this year, officials said.

Those who violate the order could be charged with a misdemeanor and could face a fine up to $5,000 or up to six months in jail.