Crooks Fire area closure lifted, recreation sites reopen, Prescott NF reports

A fire restriction sign in the Prescott National Forest. (Prescott National Forest/Courtesy)

A fire restriction sign in the Prescott National Forest. (Prescott National Forest/Courtesy)

Firefighters on the Crooks Fire have completed most of the first phase of fire-suppression repair, a Prescott National Forest Service news release stated Wednesday, May 25.

Fire suppression repair is designed to fix damages and minimize possible soil erosion and impacts on the forest from firefighting activities. Repairs can include those on the fire lines, roads, trails, staging areas, safety zones and drop points used during firefighting efforts.

The current Crooks Fire closure in the Spruce Mountain area has been lifted, opening Groom Creek Trailhead 307, Groom Creek Loop Trail No. 307, Isabella Trail No. 377, Spruce Mountain Lookout and Picnic Site and Groom Creek Horse Camp, the release stated.

“Patrolling and securing the perimeter of the fire will continue,” the release added. “As a reminder, residents within the Crooks Fire area need to utilize caution while driving on the roads as firefighters continue to work in and around the fire area. Hazards still exist in and around the fire area and residents living nearby should utilize care as fire-weakened trees, ash pits, and burned stump holes remain.”

CROOKS FIRE’S STATUS

The Crooks Fire, located 12 nautical miles south of Prescott, remains 96% contained, the release stated.

“Objectives have not changed, and resources are still in place to meet those objectives,” the release added.

Objectives include keeping the public and firefighting resources safe, containing the fire to its current footprint, ensuring complete suppression of the fire and completing repairs from fire suppression, the release stated.

“Fire containment likely will not change until measurable precipitation is received over the fire area,” the release added. “A second phase of suppression repair work will resume late summer/early fall when weather conditions are more favorable and fire risk is reduced.”

Fire-suppression repair work will occur on Spruce Mountain ridge, south of the Spruce Mountain Lookout Tower. A small closure area may be reinstated as repair work is finished to keep firefighters and the public safe, the release stated.

STAGE II FIRE RESTRICTIONS REMINDER

Stage II fire restrictions on the Prescott National Forest started at 8 a.m. Thursday, May 26.

Visitors are prohibited from igniting, building, maintaining, attending or using a fire, campfire or stove fire.

Smoking is allowed only in an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed recreation site or while stopped in an area at least 3 feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of any flammable materials.

Welding or operating any acetylene or other torch with an open flame is also prohibited, as is operating a chain saw or other equipment with an internal combustion engine from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.

These restrictions additionally prohibit discharging a firearm, except while engaged in a lawful hunt pursuant to state, federal or tribal laws and regulations, the release stated.

For more information about the Prescott National Forest, visit fs.usda.gov/prescott/, facebook.com/PrescottNF and twitter.com/PrescottNF.

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