As wildfires continue across the state, agencies at the federal, state and local level are all taking action to prevent fires closer to home.
Effective June 25, the Tonto National Forest entered into a Stage 3 Forest Closure, which will remain in effect until July 31, or until it is rescinded. In conjunction with that announcement, the State Land Trust announced its own closures, stating, “Due to extremely high fire danger, exceptional drought conditions, resource availability, and increased fire activity, the Department of Forestry and Fire Management and the Arizona State Land Department will implement closures to State Trust Land throughout Arizona. These closures are also in conjunction with our USFS partners.”
As of 8am June 25, closures were implemented on state-owned and managed lands in all 15 counties. All state-owned and managed lands are closed to entry for recreational purposes, including hunting, camping and off-road vehicle use. Target shooting and fireworks are prohibited year-round.
During the closures, several park trails and those segments of the Maricopa Trail that intersect with land managed by the agencies will not be accessible, which includes access points that intersect with the Tonto National Forest at Spur Cross Ranch Conservation Area.
In a statement, Maricopa County Parks and Recreation Department said, “As an agency that is also in charge of protecting natural resources and park visitor safety, Maricopa County Parks and Recreation Department respects their decision to close the areas they manage.”
While these closures are in effect, the Parks Department reminds residents that there are many other segments of the 315-mile Maricopa Trail system available to explore. Trail maps can be found online.