Arizona Forest Service Opens Additional Roads Within Wallow Fire Perimeter
Additional road access is also increased for legally permitted big game hunters and licensed guides.The Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests (ASNFs), in coordination with the Arizona Game and Fish Department and other agencies, continues to work toward opening roads within the Wallow Fire perimeter (including areas of Game Management Units 1 and 27), designating open roads with white arrows.
“We’re assessing roads and areas daily and are working hard to reduce hazards and open as many areas as possible,” says Jim Zornes, ASNFs' deputy forest supervisor. “However, public safety is our number one priority. With dangers such as flooding and falling debris still a concern, some areas and roads will need to remain closed. Some may even need to be temporarily re-closed, depending on conditions.”
For the latest status on roads and areas within the Wallow Area, visitors should contact the ASNFs offices or visit the ASNFs website toward the end of each week. Updated information, including a link to the current map, a link to the list of open roads, and Frequently Asked Questions, is also posted at the Arizona Game and Fish Department website at www.azgfd.gov/wildfires. Zornes cautions forest users that they are responsible for their own safety and to Look Up, Look Down, and Look Around for hazards.
White Arrow System
The white arrow system applies only to roads within the Wallow Fire perimeter. Roads marked with white arrows are open for motorized use. With certain exceptions for big game retrieval and fuelwood collection, off-road motorized travel is prohibited. All areas noted as open can be accessed via non-motorized means.
Any road signed with white arrows is open for travel as long as it’s not physically marked closed with gates, concrete barriers, and/or other signs and barricades. In addition, most roads are not currently maintained for passenger vehicle use; high-clearance vehicles are recommended.
Big Game HuntingDuring the regulated season, legally permitted big game hunters and licensed guides may drive on any Forest Service system road numbered with a vertical or horizontal sign, except in closure areas or on roads that are gated or barricaded closed. (Previously, hunters were restricted to driving only on roads designated with a white arrow). Hunters must be prepared with chainsaws or other equipment to clear the road should their exit be obstructed by falling trees. Other hazards such as stump holes and flooding are still abundant. Each visitor is responsible for his or her own safety. Before entering any forest area, Look Up, Look Down, and Look Around.
Driving off numbered roads is allowable for retrieving legally harvested game only, and only if vehicles do not cause resource damage. Driving off road to scout for game is not permitted.
Motorized and non-motorized entry into areas designated as closed is prohibited. Exceptions for retrieval of mortally wounded or harvested game may be granted on a case-by-case basis by the Arizona Game and Fish Department or the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests. To request an exception, hunters must contact the Game and Fish Operation Game Thief hotline (24-hour, 7-day/week) at-1-800-352-0700, the Apache-Sitgreaves Alpine Ranger District Office at (928) 339-5000, or the Apache-Sitgreaves Springerville District office at (928) 333-6200 during normal business hours prior to entering closure areas.
Many recreation sites are open for use, including Caldwell Cabin; however, certain locations will remain closed through at least the next several months, including South Fork Campground and all the developed recreation sites in the East Fork and West Fork of the Black River.
Dispersed camping is allowed within 30 feet of any route designated as open with a white arrow, in areas designated as open. Forest entry and dispersed camping further than 30 feet from an open roadway is allowable by non-motorized means only, and only in areas designated as open on the map. Each visitor is responsible for his or her own safety. While entering any area designated as open within the burn perimeter, Look Up, Look Down, and Look Around.
Personal Use Fuelwood Collection
With a valid permit, fuelwood collectors can drive up to 150 feet off any Forest Service system road numbered with a horizontal or vertical sign, except in closure areas or on roads that are gated or barricaded closed. Vehicles cannot cause resource damage and permittees should be aware of potential flooding, stump holes, and falling debris. Each person is responsible for his or her own safety. Always Look Up, Look Down, and Look Around.
Trails and Trailheads
Crews are working to mitigate hazards at trailheads throughout the burn perimeter, including the trails accessing the Blue River Primitive area. While all trails in the designated open area may be used, they have not been mitigated for safety hazards. Forest managers recommend using other trails outside of the burn perimeter and remind visitors that they are responsible for their own safety. Always Look Up, Look Down, and Look Around.
For a copy of the closure order, a comprehensive list of open roads, trails, and recreation sites, as well as maps indicating open and closed areas, visit ASNFs website, www.fs.fed.us/r3/asnf or your local ASNFs office.
Information, including link to the current map, a link to a list of open roads, and Frequently Asked Questions, is also posted on the Arizona Game and Fish Department's website at www.azgfd.gov/wildfires.
Visitors are encouraged to also visit the Forests' Flickr site at www.flickr.com/apachesitgreavesnf to view photos of hazards to watch for while in the area. Violations are punishable by a fine of up to $5,000 for individuals and $10,000 for organizations, imprisonment up to six months, or both.
For additional hunting information, contact the Arizona Game and Fish Department or visit www.azgfd.gov.