As a result of an unusually active wildfire season in central Arizona, current public health and safety closures, as well as Stage 1 Fire Restrictions are still in effect across the Tonto National Forest. These restrictions and closures may affect some hunting units located within the Tonto National Forest. Post fire closure orders are in effect to protect human life and safety following wildfires. Significant flooding and debris flows are possible in recent burn areas as a result of vegetation loss in steep and erosive soils. The purpose of these post fire closure orders is to protect public health and safety during the time that the area is at increased risk of post-fire flood events that could cause significant injury or death. Dry washes and valley drainages should be avoided during heavy rain. Flash floods can occur within minutes after the onset of a rainstorm. Even areas that are not traditionally flood-prone are at risk after a wildfire, due to changes to the landscape caused by fire. Fires result in loss of vegetation, exposure of soil to erosion, and increased water runoff that may lead to flooding, increased sediment, debris flows, and damage to critical natural and cultural resources.
The following fire areas have active closure orders:
Bush Fire: (Order Number: 03-12-00-20-396) – Hunting Unit 22 Hidden Fire: (Order Number: 03-12-00-20-402) – Hunting Unit 23S
Salt Fire: (Order Number: 03-12-00-20-399) – Hunting Unit 24A/24B
Superstition Fire: (Order Number: 03-12-03-20-400) – Hunting Unit 24B
Stage 1 Fire Restrictions are still in effect across all the Tonto National Forest due to the potential for new wildfire starts due to lack of monsoon moisture levels and available fire fuels. These restrictions include: 1. Igniting, building, maintaining, attending or using a fire, campfire, or stove fire other than in a developed campsite or picnic area. 36 C.F.R. § 261.52(a). 2. Smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed recreation site, or while stopped in an area at least three (3) feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of any flammable material. 36 C.F.R. § 261.52(d). 3. Discharging a firearm, air rifle, or gas gun. 36 C.F.R. § 261.58(m). Persons engaged in legal hunting activity are allowed to discharge a firearm while taking wildlife.
Special Restrictions for Off-Road Motor Vehicle Use (Order Number 03-12-00-20-384) are also in effect, which may affect big game retrieval. The purpose of this order is: 1. The protection of National Forest visitors and employees from increased fire danger due to vehicles operating off-road. 2. The protection of resources from damage due to vehicles operating off-road.
For information on Forest Service Fire Closure areas and Fire Restrictions, contact your local ranger station:
For more information on Arizona hunting units and regulations, visit the Arizona Game and Fish website at: https://www.azgfd.com/ To view current closure orders with maps, and other important information, visit the Alerts and Notices section of the Tonto National Forest website at https://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/tonto/alerts-notices Everyone needs to be familiar with Arizona’s Ready, Set, Go! Program. Find more information at https://ein.az.gov/ready-set-go.