In light of area closures recreation opportunities abound over Memorial Day Weekend

All offices of the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests will be closed on Monday, May 28, in observance of the Memorial Day holiday. Business will resume Tuesday, May 29, during regular operating hours. Despite the office closure, fire and recreation personnel and law enforcement officers will be on duty over the Memorial Day weekend for the safety of visitors.

Forest officials expect large numbers of visitors to the most popular campgrounds and picnic areas throughout the holiday weekend.  The following are tips for safe and enjoyable weekend outings.

Camping: Due to the holiday weekend and area closures, campers may end up being in close proximity of each other.  Campers are encouraged to be good neighbors and recognize “quiet time” at 10:00 p.m. Please remember that the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests is a pack it in, pack it out forest.  Dispersed picnicking and camping outside of developed recreation areas on the forest is allowed with the exception of area closures. 

Wildlife: Visitors should avoid contact with wildlife and utilize “bear aware” principles. Bears and other animals may be attracted to human food and trash. Maintain clean campsites.  Store food out of sight and smell range of bears.  Utilize metal storage boxes for food and garbage in recreation sites.  Cookware and dishes should be washed in designated areas away from camping sites and stored promptly after meals.  Odorous products such as toothpaste or lotions and clothing with food or cooking odors should not be taken into sleeping areas. Wildlife should not be fed intentionally or accidentally. For their safety, pets should be leashed at all times. Prevention of wildlife encounters is encouraged. “Keep wildlife wild.”

As a reminder Stage II Fire Restrictions were implemented May 4 and area closures were implemented May 23 due to increasing drought conditions, very high fire danger and public safety concerns.

Stage II fire restrictions prohibit the following:

  1. Building, maintaining, attending or using a fire, campfire, charcoal, coal, or wood stove fire. Devices fueled solely by liquid petroleum or LPG fuels that can be turned on and off are the exception. Such devices can only be used in an area that is barren or cleared of all overhead and surrounding flammable materials within three feet of the device.
  2. Smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle or building.
  3. Using an explosive.
  4. Discharging a firearm, except while engaged in a lawful hunt pursuant to state, federal, or tribal laws and regulations or in an agency designated shooting range.  
  5. Possessing, discharging or using any type of firework or pyrotechnic device.
  6. Welding or operating acetylene or other torches with an open flame.
  7. Operating or using any internal combustion engines, this includes chainsaws. Generators are allowed as long as they have an approved spark arresting device and are used within an enclosed vehicle or building or in an area that is completely cleared of all overhead and surrounding flammable materials within three feet of the generator.
  8. Possessing or using a motor vehicle off National Forest System roads, except when parking in an area devoid of vegetation within 10 feet of the roadway.

Please visit https://www.fs.usda.gov/main/asnf/home for closure areas.

Forest Law Enforcement Officers experience an increase in violations during busy holiday weekends. Violating closures and fire restrictions is a violation that 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.

For more information on:

  • Up to date information on closures and restrictions within Navajo and Apache Counties please dial 311 from a cell phone or 928-333-3412. By dialing 311 you will reach the Community Call Center which will be open 7 am to 7 pm through Monday, May 28.
  • Northeastern Arizona Public Information System website http://311info.net/
  • Arizona Fire Restrictions http://firerestrictions.us/az
  • Arizona Fire Prevention & Information (fire restrictions & red flag alerts) http://wildlandfire.az.gov/

###

Pdf of News Release and Forest Area Closure Map 





https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/asnf/news-events/?cid=FSEPRD581838