Forest Service to close Kaibab National Forest to public until dangerous fire conditions improve

In this file photo for illustration purposes only, a firefighter monitors burnout operations on the Castle Fire in Arizona, July 19, 2019 | Photo by Jackie Banks/Kaibab National Forest, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Due to fire danger, dry conditions and persistent wildfire activity during a time when firefighting resources are sparse, the entirety of the Kaibab National Forest will close for public safety, beginning Wednesday at 8 a.m., according to a press release issued by the U.S. Forest Service.

In this file photo, fire crews battle the Mangum Fire in Northern Arizona’s Kaibab National Forest, Coconino County, Ariz., June 17, 2020 | Photo courtesy of National Forest Service, St. George News

A full forest closure means that the public is prohibited from entering any part of the Kaibab National Forest at any time. Those with private inholdings will be allowed access to their property, as well as personnel providing utility support where necessary and firefighters performing their duties. In addition, work on thinning and other forest and watershed restoration projects will cease.

Forest Service personnel will attempt to reach as many people as possible to begin vacating campsites and informing individuals who are camping in the forest currently, the news release states. Campers and visitors to the national forest should vacate their campsites before the closure begins, and the public should cancel any plans for visiting the Kaibab National Forest for the next several weeks.

Though parts of the national forest may receive rain from sporadic storms over the next couple of weeks, this closure will not be rescinded until sufficient precipitation is received to adequately reduce the risk of wildfire, and hot, dry weather conditions are no longer forecast to continue, the release states. In short, this closure will continue until conditions are such that the closure can be lifted.

The violation of closures and fire restrictions 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.

Stay up to date on Kaibab National Forest news by checking their website and following @KaibabNF on Facebook and Twitter.

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

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