Fire Danger Leads To Partial Closure of Saguaro National Park

With Arizona undergoing one of its worst fire seasons ever, officials at Saguaro National Park have instituted a closure of parts of the Rincon Mountain District as a precaution.

The fire closures take effect at noon today, June 9, and affect:

* All trails, washes, and land except as specified below, within the Rincon Mountain (East) District of Saguaro National Park.

* Mica View Picnic Area Road and Mica View Picnic Area

Areas to remain OPEN include:

* The 8-mile paved Cactus Forest Loop Drive, including the Javelina Picnic Area (daylight
hours only)

* Rincon Mountain District Visitor Center

* The entire Tucson Mountain (West) District remains open, including the Red Hills Visitor
Center, roads and trails

These closures will be lifted when significant moisture is received to reduce the extraordinary wildfire threat to more normal levels, park officials say. Violation of these restrictions is punishable by a fine of not more than $5,000, or imprisonment for no more than six months, or both.

For local fire restrictions and closure information for federal, tribal and state lands in Arizona and New Mexico, as well as additional information on southeast Arizona public lands, visit http://gacc.nifc.gov/swcc/.

Comments

An update on the Horseshoe 2 fire in the Chiricahuas: it has crossed Pinery Canyon Rd and is burning into Chiricahua National Monument. The incident team are going to set burnouts inside the Monument to protect structures and developed areas.

If you want to track any wildfires, the InciWeb site (http://www.inciweb.org/) provides updates on major fires, including fire perimeters as kmz files for google earth.

Now if only we can keep the moronic smokers from throwing their lit cigarettes out of their car windows! I live outside of Phoenix and the other day I was behind a truck with Michigan plates that did just that - threw their lit cigarette out the window. A week ago south of Tucson in the middle of nowhere, there was a large brush fire on both sides of I-10 that slowed traffic to a crawl. Are you people who do this really that damn STUPID? Really??

Now the federal government wants to regulate what days of the month you can visit the National Park we all pay taxes to support. Won't be long until they tell us we cannot visit NP's at all unless we are in some kind of elitist group.

Some might say the NPS wants to save the taxpayer dollars by preventing forest fires...

I was in Yellowstone in '88. It wasn't pretty. And at least one of those fires was started by humans...just outside the park boundary.

I see nothing wrong with a little prudence and caution.

Kurt, I was in Yellowstone in early June of 1990. And it was spectacular. New life, dead logs, the brand new visitor center at the south entrance telling the story of the fires and the recovery. Fire is a force of nature, and the NPS has learned over the last three to four decades to allow fires to burn, unless life or limb are in danger.

Don't misunderstand, MRC, I agree that fire is a very necessary landscape tool in forests. There are many positives, from the opening up of meadows that attract wildlife to even spurring regrowth of coniferous species with serontinus cones.

And overly aggressive efforts to prevent fires lead to unusually high fuel loads that, when fires do occur, create not only unnaturally large conflagrations but particularly hot fires that damage the soils. That blowdown area between Norris and Canyon is a perfect example of that; it took much longer than other areas of the park to rebound from the fires because the fires there were so hot.

And healthy landscapes do rebound fairly quickly from fires. In Yellowstone's case, the forests started to heal themselves as early as the end of the summer of '88. Wildflowers were coming up across many of the burned areas, and they were soon followed in '89 by the reborn lodgepole forests.

But human beings can be very careless creatures.