Kaibab National Forest taking steps to reduce human-caused fires

Kaibab-2As of Friday, June 6, at 8 a.m. the Kaibab National Forest is taking additional steps to reduce the risk of preventable human-caused fires and will impose new campfire and smoking restrictions. The Williams Ranger District will close the Bill Williams Mountain Watershed to public entry.

Under the North Kaibab Ranger District’s campfire and smoking restrictions, which are also known as Stage 1 fire restrictions, fires, campfires, charcoal, coal and wood stoves will be allowed in developed campgrounds only. The restrictions will also limit smoking to within enclosed vehicles or buildings or in developed campgrounds.

On the Williams Ranger District, which is already under Stage II fire restrictions, the Bill Williams Mountain Watershed will be closed to public entry. This includes hiking, horseback riding, driving, camping and all other recreational and industrial activities.

The Bill Williams Mountain Watershed closure area will be bounded to the east by 4th Street and County Road 73, to the south by Forest Service Road (FSR) 122, to the west by FSR 108, and to the north by Interstate 40.

Forest managers often close the Bill Williams Mountain Watershed to public entry during fire season. Bill Williams Mountain is the primary watershed for the City of Williams, and a major wildfire and subsequent flooding would be devastating to the city and surrounding communities.

The entire Williams and Tusayan ranger districts remain under Stage II fire restrictions, which prohibit campfires, even in developed campgrounds; prohibit discharging a firearm, except while engaged in a lawful hunt; and, limit many industrial activities.

On Monday, the National Weather Service issued a Red Flag Warning that covered much of the Kaibab National Forest in northern Arizona. A Red Flag Warning occurs when the forecast shows a combination of strong winds and low relative humidities, which can contribute to extreme fire behavior.

For detailed information about fire restrictions and the closure of the Bill Williams Mountain Watershed, visit www.fs.usda.gov/kaibab or call the Kaibab National Forest fire information phone line at (928) 635-8311.

For information about fire restrictions across Arizona, visit http://firerestrictions.us/az/ or call 1-877-864-6985.

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