Beginning Thursday, June 24, 2021, the entire Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest is closing due to extreme fire danger under historically dry conditions. The Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest lies in the eastern portion of Arizona, bordering with New Mexico.
More than two dozen fires have started on the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests in the last few days. Two of these fires required additional assistance by incident management teams. Further, fire behavior has been extreme with crowning, torching and long-range spotting, threatening lives and property. While sporadic precipitation may fall in areas of the forest over the coming weeks, this closure will remain in effect until fire activity decreases, sufficient precipitation falls to reduce the risk of wildfire and hot, dry conditions are no longer forecast to continue.
The close officially begins at 6:00 AM, Thursday, June 24, 2021, and lasts until September 1, 2021. It’s possible the closure may be rescinded much early depending on weather conditions.
A full forest closure means that the public is prohibited from entering any part of Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest at any time. Those with private inholdings will be allowed into their property.
Campers currently inside the forest will be ordered to vacate immediately. Forest Service personnel will attempt to reach as many people as possible. The public should cancel any plans for visiting the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest for the next several weeks.
Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest becomes a very popular camping and boondocking area in the summer due to its high elevation, offering cooler weather for full-time RVers and nomads. But because fire service crews are stretched extremely thin right now, the US Forest Service chose to shut down the entire forest instead.
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.