ROOSEVELT LAKE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - The fire danger is high at Roosevelt Lake because there’s so much water in it.
Yes, you read that right -- a fuller lake means a different kind of fire risk.
Because it’s Easter weekend and the Bermuda Flat Shoreline area is packed with campers and RVs.
“We dropped them off last Sunday,” Rick Roxbery said of his RV and other camping items. He also said it was pretty tough to find a spot.
But as soon as the weekend’s over, the area will be closed to campers as a precaution against wildfires, even with lake water lapping just feet away from the campsites.
“We always have a fire season; it’s just kind of where the fire season’s gonna be,” Tonto National Forest spokeswoman Carrie Templin said.
This year’s fire danger actually ties back to a wet winter, which has filled the lake to 75% capacity, as compared to about 50% in a normal year.
“In a 50% year, you would have an awful lot of shoreline without any vegetation. Lots of places for people to camp and nothing on the ground but dry dirt,” Templin said. “This year because the lake’s up to 75%, that barren area’s underwater. So people are camping up in the trees, right in all of that fine, dry grass. And it doesn’t take much of any kind of a spark from whatever cause to start a fire.”
“Yeah that makes sense,” 16-year-old Drew Falagrady said as he camped with his family. “I mean, it sucks, but that makes sense.”
He had noticed how much higher the water level was, and how much easier that made unloading the family’s boat.
“Typically the water’s like a good hundred yards back. Like the water level is really risen up this time,” Falagrady said.
Until Tuesday, you can still light campfires and cook with open flames.
“They made a conscious decision not to move people out before the weekend was over,” Templin said.
But after that, Bermuda Flat Shoreline will stay closed to campers either until the water recedes, or until the monsoon brings the humidity up.