Coconino National Forest Expands Closure Through Holiday Weekend

By Al Macias
Published: Tuesday, July 1, 2014 - 4:18pm

Some bad news for people planning to camp or picnic over the Fourth of July weekend in the Oak Creek Canyon area. The Coconino National Forest has expanded its emergency closure to include all National Forest land within Oak Creek Canyon beginning Thursday.

The closure is due to the risks from monsoon flooding and the limited ability to quickly inform and evacuate people along Oak Creek if flooding were to occur. This comes following the Slide Fire last month, which burned more than 21,000 acres north of Oak Creek Canyon.

All developed campgrounds, picnic areas, recreation sites and vehicle pullouts along State Route 89A will be closed. Private land owners will still have access to their homes and properties. Businesses in Oak Creek Canyon will also remain open for visitors, as Highway 89A will not be closed.

Forest officials had originally planned the closures following the holiday weekend but warned that if monsoon rains arrived sooner than expected, the closures would take place earlier. Forecasts now call for possible rains on Friday.