Sycamore Creek area closed due to possible flooding

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By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas

PHOENIX – Tonto National Forest officials have closed the Sycamore Creek area due to impending monsoonal activity, which poses the possibility of severe flooding danger.
 
"In the next few weeks it is possible that several areas on the Tonto National Forest will suffer the extreme effects of summer flooding,” said Gary Hanna, Mesa District Ranger. "One of those areas is the Sunflower burn area, approximately 17,500 acres, which is the upper watershed for Sycamore Creek."
 
The Sunflower fire began last month and is currently 80 percent contained.
 
"In the burn area, there is little, if any, ground vegetation left to absorb and hold back rainwater," Hanna said. "When heavy rain falls over burnt steep terrain, the water quickly rushes downhill carrying loose soils, ash, and debris."
 
The area being immediately closed is the Sycamore Creek area, an extension of the already established Sunflower Fire closure area, which includes the upper section of Sycamore Creek. 
 
The restricted area includes all National Forest System lands, roads and trails within the exterior boundaries as described as follows:
 
West of Highway 87: From the junction of State Highway 87 and Forest Road (FR) 1847 west following FR 1847 to the forest boundary, north along the forest boundary to the Mesa Ranger District boundary, northeast along the Mesa Ranger District boundary to FR 3456, then east following FR 3456 to Hwy. 87, and Hwy. 87 south to the junction of Hwy. 87 and FR 1847.
 
East of Highway 87: Forest Road 1704 is closed.
 
Residence owners, lessees of land, and holders of Forest Service special use authorizations within the restricted area may use Forest System Roads to get to and from their property.
 
Forest visitors are advised to check www.fs.usda.gov/tonto for announcements and closure orders or call ahead to the districts before planning recreation events on the forest in order to avoid trespass into closure areas.

Forest officials continue to urge caution to visitors who encounter flooded roadways by reminding them of the Maricopa County Department of Transportation slogan, "Turn Around, Don't Drown!"