7/1/2014 3:19:00 PM Oak Creek closure area to expand July 7
The repercussions of May’s Slide Fire are now being realized with the onset of Arizona’s summer monsoon season and the risks associated with potential debris torrents and flooding. Photos by Vyto Starinskas
Coconino National Forest will be expanding the existing Slide Fire closure area for public safety on July 7 or with the onset of the monsoon pattern-whichever occurs first.
The proposed expansion of the closure area will include National Forest land within Oak Creek Canyon beginning on the southern end near the Huckaby trailhead at Schnebly Hill Road, up to the top of the switchbacks on the north end of the Canyon.
All developed recreation sites and vehicle pullouts along State Route 89A will be closed, prohibiting people from accessing the creek. Post-fire impacts may include rocks falling, flash flooding and dangerous debris flow through Oak Creek Canyon during monsoon.
"We are taking this step due to risks associated with potential debris torrents and flooding, our limited ability to inform people dispersed along Oak Creek, and to reduce possible complications in Oak Creek Canyon during potential response and evacuation following these events," said Scott Russell, acting Coconino National Forest supervisor.
This closure only affects National Forest lands, so businesses in Oak Creek Canyon will remain open, as will SR 89A. The closure will not include the upper picnic level of Slide Rock State Park, but the Slide area in the creek will remain closed.
When this expanded closure goes into effect, the Coconino National Forest will send out the actual Closure Order and finalized map showing Closure boundaries.