Following Cat Fire, officials close popular trail in Saddle Mountain Wilderness until spring

Photo of Cat Fire taken from the overlook at the end of Forest Road 610, Sept. 15, 2018 | Photo courtesy of North Zone Fire Organization, St. George News

FREDONIA, Ariz. — Fire officials on the North Kaibab Ranger District of the Kaibab National Forest are extending the South Canyon Trail closure through at least spring 2019 for both public and firefighter safety.

Officials have closed the South Canyon Trail in the Saddle Mountain Wilderness until spring 2019 | Map courtesy of Kaibab National Forest, St. George News

The trail, which is located in the Saddle Mountain Wilderness, is in the area burned by the Cat Fire this summer, and fire managers are concerned about the hazards that fire-weakened trees would potentially pose to hikers. The trail will remain closed to allow for safe and efficient restoration work in the area by Forest Service crews.

“We simply need more time before we can consider the trail safe for hikers,” North Zone Fire Management Officer Peter Goetzinger said in a press release. “A good solid winter should give us that. We anticipate opening the trail back up in the spring.”

According to the InciWeb report, the Cat Fire was originally started by lightning Aug. 6. The first jumped quickly in a matter of days as a result of weather conditions at the time.

Trail and road closures were put into place that were later lifted. However, when the fire kicked up again mid-September, the closures were reinstated. At the end of September, the Cat Fire was estimated to have burned a little over 4,600 acres.

According to the press release from Kaibab National Forest, once it is determined safe to do so, the trail will be reopened for public use.

There are no other closures in effect in the area.

To contact the North Kaibab Ranger District office, call 928-643-7395.

Kaibab National Forest information is also available through the following sources:


Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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  • LunchboxHero November 7, 2018 at 11:02 am

    Oh dear, it’s so distressing to read about a fire. Isn’t there a story about a dog having puppies, or someone planting begonias? My neighbor just laid new driveway gravel. Let’s talk about that!

    • Carpe Diem November 7, 2018 at 11:56 am

      Think of all the deer that are probably lost! Uh oh its gonna frost soon too.

  • KR567 November 7, 2018 at 11:04 pm

    Lunchboxhero ……woooooohooooooo yeah I would love to see an article about your neighbors driveway ! ….I wouldnt want to see someone get offended by the picture of burning weeds and stuff ..LOL !

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