Originally Published: June 12, 2007 9:12 p.m.
The Daily Courier
WILLIAMS - The Kaibab National Forest temporarily is closing several thousand acres surrounding Bill Williams Mountain Wednesday, June 20, to reduce the chances of a wildfire in the watershed that provides drinking water for the City of Williams.
"If a fire were to occur on the mountain, reservoirs in the area could become filled with silt and debris and would be unable to meet the needs of the Williams community," said Dave Mertz, Kaibab fire staff officer.
The forest also is ratcheting up its fire restrictions in general.
The closure area boundaries are Interstate 40 on the north, Forest Road 173 on the east (the paved road that connects Williams with the Drake Road), FR122 on the south and FR108 on the west. All these roads will remain open except FR122.
The new fire restrictions that take effect today prohibit motor vehicles off developed Kaibab Forest roads (the Prescott National Forest always prohibits this activity).
The new Kaibab fire restrictions also prohibit welding as well as explosives, chainsaws and other internal combustion engines.
"As we continue to move through fire season, conditions are becoming warmer and drier," Mertz said. "We haven't had a large fire yet this season on the Kaibab National Forest, and we'd like to keep it that way. Fire restrictions are an effective tool to prevent human-caused fires."
Fireworks are illegal everywhere in Arizona.
The Prescott, Kaibab and other national forests already have prohibited campfires and other open flames outside of developed campgrounds and recreation areas. Smoking is illegal outside vehicles, buildings or developed recreation areas, too.
The U.S. Bureau of Land Management and state trust lands are prohibiting all fire use.
Local municipalities and fire districts also have implemented fire restrictions on private lands in the Prescott region.
For more details about fire restrictions on public lands throughout Arizona, call 1-877-864-6985 or visit the Internet at www.azfireinfo.com.