Due to extreme fire danger and historically dry conditions during a time when firefighting resources are stretched thin, the entire Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests will close for public safety, beginning Thursday, June 24 at 6:00 a.m.
A full forest closure means that the public is prohibited from entering any part of Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests at any time. Those with private inholdings will be allowed into their property.
More than two dozen fires have started on the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests in the last few days. Two of these fires required additional assistance by incident management teams. Further, fire behavior has been extreme with crowning, torching and long-range spotting, threatening lives and property. While sporadic precipitation may fall in areas of the forest over the coming weeks, this closure will remain in effect until fire activity decreases, sufficient precipitation falls to reduce the risk of wildfire and hot, dry conditions are no longer forecast to continue.
Forest Service personnel will attempt to reach as many people as possible to begin vacating campsites and informing individuals who are camping in the forest. Campers and visitors to the national forest should vacate their campsites before the closure begins and the public should cancel any plans for visiting the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests for the next several weeks.
The violation of closures and fire restrictions carries a mandatory appearance in federal court, punishable as a Class B misdemeanor with a fine of up to $5,000 for an individual or $10,000 for an organization, or up to six months in prison, or both.