COCONINO COUNTY, Ariz. — The Fossil Creek recreation area is closed for the rest of 2021 and potentially up until the fall of 2022, the U.S. Forest Service said.
The recreation area is closed due to the Backbone Fire, which burned 40,000 acres earlier this year, and personnel needs to assess and repair the damage, the Forest Service said.
The public safety closure restricts access to hikers, bikers, boats, or vehicles in areas where hazards are most likely to take place.
Coconino National Forest closed the area, as recommended by the Burn Area Emergency Response team, because of elevated post-fire risks such as flash floods, debris flows and dead trees, the agency said.
A combination of fire and monsoonal damage has caused forest roads 708 and 502 to remain impassable.
During the closure, Forest Service personnel will be implementing a variety of projects recommended by the BAER team, according to a press release. These projects include clearing roads and monitoring them after storms, treatments to prevent the spread of invasive species, and installing new signage.
The closure area will be closely monitored. The Coconino National Forest will consider reopening the Fossil Creek area to the public once the elevated post-fire risk to visitors has subsided, the agency said.
All permits issued through recreation.gov have been canceled and refunded.