Apache and Navajo counties enter Stage III restrictions

Photo/Todd Roth

Photo/Todd Roth

PHOENIX, Ariz. — With fire severity extraordinarily high and much of Arizona in extreme drought conditions, the Department of Forestry and Fire Management will close state lands in Apache and Navajo counties to recreational use.

Starting May 18, Stage III, or full closures, will be implemented on state-owned and managed lands in both counties.

All state-owned and managed lands in those counties are closed to all entry for recreational purposes, including hunting, camping and off-road vehicle use. Target shooting and fireworks are never allowed on state lands at any time.

“The high fire danger and fire severity level is a major public safety concern and citizens and our first responders are our number one priority. These areas are under extreme to exceptional drought conditions, therefore to safeguard our communities and our Arizona residents, closing state-owned and managed lands is an appropriate course of action,” said State Forester Jeff Whitney.

Closures apply to the following state-owned and state-managed lands within the above-mentioned counties including:

All State Trust lands outside incorporated municipalities.

All Game and Fish Commission Wildlife areas and department properties outside incorporated municipalities will remain open, under Stage II Fire Restrictions.

Arizona State Parks will remain open with various fire restrictions in place.

Full shutdown of all operations; except organizations on mineral soil involving road excavation, watering, grading, gravel surfacing, and rock crushing may continue with special permission. Contractors will provide fire guard for three hours after shutdown.

Exemptions include: persons with a written fire entry and activity permit that specifically authorizes the permitted to be on the land. This may include such persons as grazing-permit holders when entry is needed to gather, move, or otherwise manage their permitted livestock, special-use authorization holders when access is needed to maintain emergency or other communications operations and others.

Any federal, state or local law enforcement officer, or member of an organized rescue or firefighting organization in the performance of an official duty.

Resident owners and lessees of land within the closed area. Any closure exemption must be approved by the State Forester. These closures do not apply to private lands under ARS § 37-1303.

Information provided by the Department of Forestry and Fire Management

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