Tonto National Forest closes section of forest due to Diamond Fire
TONTO NATIONAL FOREST, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) — The Tonto National Forest has closed parts of the forest because the Diamond Fire continues to spread throughout the region. This is near State Route 87, northeast of Phoenix. The emergency closure began on July 24 at 6 p.m. and goes through Aug. 7 at 6 p.m.
Under the order, the public is prohibited from using lands, roads and trails in the Mesa Ranger District of the Tonto National Forest. The Mesa Ranger District is located north and east of the town of Apache Junction. Even though Canyon Lake and Saguaro Lake are in the Mesa Ranger District, they remain open. Click here for a map of the prohibited areas.
Those with Forest Service Permit No FS-7700-48 are exempted and may use the roads, trails, or areas restricted by the order.
Tonto National Forest says anyone violating the order could be punished with a Class B Misdemeanor, fined up to $10,000 or sent to prison.
The Diamond Fire ignited on Saturday afternoon and has burned around 1,034 acres as of Monday night. The wildfire forced evacuations for residents of the Sunflower community. Ground and air crews are currently working to control the flames. However, the rugged terrain and excessive heat are challenging firefighters battling the blaze.
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