Arizona fire restrictions lifted, new closures affect Mt. Elden

After receiving some much needed rain, many Arizona fire closures and restrictions have been lifted as of July 17, according to AZ State Forestry. Stage II restrictions remain in place for Maricopa County and Stage I restrictions remain in place for Mohave County and Coconino County north of the Grand Canyon and La Paz, and for Yuma County.

New closures due to logging will affect Mount Elden from July 16 2018, possibly through July 2019. According to the Northern Arizona Climbers Coalition (NAzCC):

Areas affected in this first phase are Gloria’s, Skyline boulders, Dragon Eggz, and Red Dragon (the later two can still be accessed if you are psyched to hike in from the top and not all of Gloria’s is inside the closure zone). Specific areas may not be under full closure, so it is critical to be aware of and abide by signage when recreating near Elden. Though this will have a temporary impact on our climbing it is important to keep in mind that this project brings great benefit for our forest, wildlife, and watershed. Please refer to the press release & maps for further details, updates will be provided as the project moves around the mountain.

Arizona fire closures affect summer climbing access

Due to current increased fire danger, local land managers have instituted general closures of high risk areas, including some popular climbing areas.

Closed areas in Coconino National Forest include:

  • San Francisco Peaks
  • Mt. Elden
  • Kelly Canyon
  • Pumphouse Wash
  • The Pit
  • Bouldering above Lower Lake Mary

Closed areas in Kaibab National Forest include:

  • Bill Williams Mountain

Closed areas in Navajo and Apache counties include:

  • All state owned and managed lands, including Winslow Wall

Areas that remain open under Stage 2 Fire Restrictions:

  • Sedona
  • Oak Creek Canyon (except Pumphouse Wash)
  • The Overlook
  • Paradise Forks
  • Volunteer Canyon
  • Areas off of Woody Mountain Road
  • Priest Draw
  • Buffalo Park

Find more information at dffm.az.gov/fire-restrictions.

NAZCC announces Priest Draw Adopt A Crag event

The Northern Arizona Climbers Coalition (NAZCC) will hold an Adopt A Crag event to help preserve Priest Draw on Saturday, June 9 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.. Projects will involve closing off the unsanctioned road leading south from the camping area (which will not affect climbing access) and finishing the base-stabilizing retaining wall at the Bat Roof.

Volunteers will meet at the trailhead at 10 a.m. wearing sturdy shoes or boots (no sandals), pants, and work gloves, if possible. Bagels and coffee will be provided.

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Find more information on the Facebook event page or at www.nazcc.org.

Arizona implements fire restrictions for wildfire season

To help prevent wildfires, the Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management has placed Stage II Fire Restrictions across Southern Arizona. As of Friday, May 4, Coconino County, home to popular climbing area Priest Draw, will move from Stage I Fire Restrictions to Stage II Fire Restrictions. In the past, failure to comply with Fire Restrictions has resulted in temporary closures of recreational areas.

According the the Coconino National Forest website, Stage II Fire Restrictions prohibits:

  • Fires, campfires, charcoal, coal, and wood stoves (except using a device that is solely fueled by liquid petroleum or LPG fuels that can be turned on and off in areas that are barren or cleared of all overhead and surrounding flammable materials within three feet of the device)
  • Smoking (except within an enclosed vehicle or building)
  • Using an explosives
  • Possessing, discharging, or using any type of firework by pyrotechnic device. Fireworks are always prohibited.
  • Operating a chainsaw or any other equipment powered by an internal combustion engine from the hours of 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. (except generators with an approved spark arresting device within an enclosed vehicle or building or in an area that is barren or cleared of all overhead and surrounding flammable materials within three feet of the generator).
  • Welding or operating an acetylene or other torch with open flame.
  • Operating or using any internal or external combustion engine without a spark arresting device properly installed, maintained, and in effective working order (this does not include motor vehicles. This is aimed at things such as landscaping tools).
  • Discharging firearms, air rifles, or gas guns (except while engaged in a lawful hunt pursuant to state, federal or tribal laws and regulations).
  • Possessing or using a motor vehicle off National Forest System roads. Vehicles must follow Travel Management Rule regulations and cannot drive/park over any vegetation at any time.

Find more information about Stage I and Stage II Fire Restrictions here.

Find news on where Fire Restrictions are being implemented here.

Oak Flat prayer site vandalized

Photo by Mike Schennum

A San Carlos Apache prayer site at Oak Flat Campground was vandalized when two crosses were removed, two others damaged with an axe, and ceremonial eagle feathers were left on the ground. Arizona’s Tonto National Forest is investigating the vandalism, which Apache Stronghold believes is linked to its protest of Resolution Copper’s plans to mine the copper ore beneath Oak Flat.

Find more information at azcentral.com.