Many campgrounds closed in Arizona's high country due to fire restrictions

- Dangerous wildfire conditions have prompted a red flag warning, closures and restrictions in Northern Arizona.

"They say no campfires," one person said. "We can use anything that has propane."

One family set up camp at the Houston Mesa campground outside Payson early Thursday morning, hopeful to have a good time even with the restrictions.

"We miss the fire at night," one camper said. "We sit around and talk and other than that, it's easy, it's the same."

>>Tonto National Forest fire restrictions
>>Tonto National Forest closure order, maps

Hiking isn't allowed outside this campground. Signs are everywhere, even on the doors of gas stations in town.

"Everyone is coming in, trying to get firewood," one clerk said. "We can't sell it."

Because it's a popular weekend to camp, reservations were made well in advance, and as of Friday morning, there were few spots left.

"I can't make s'mores, if we do them here, they're going to taste like gas," one camper said.

Even though they have to forgo some of their favorite activities, these kids are still hopeful to have fun by putting safety first.

Sites that remain open:

  • All sites on the Cave Creek Ranger District
  • Globe Ranger District in the Pinal Mountains, including Timber Camp recreation site and Jones Water campground
  • Salt and Verde Rivers
  • Recreation sites at these lakes:
    • Apache (Salt River)
    • Bartlett (Verde River)
    • Canyon (Salt River)
    • Horeshoe (Verde River)
    • Saguaro (Salt River)
    • Theodore Roosevelt (Salt River)

Sites that remain closed:

  • Payson Ranger District
    • Ponderosa campground and group site
    • hristopher Creek campground and group site
    • Sharp Creek campground and group site
    • Tonto Creek campground
    • Upper Tonto Creek campground
    • Horton Creek day use site
    • First Crossing day use site
    • Water Wheel day use site
    • Second Crossing day use site
    • Third Crossing day use site
  • Pleasant Valley Ranger District
    • Haigler Creek campground and day use site
    • Valentine Ridge campground
    • Colcord Ridge dispersed camping area
    • Airplane Flat dispersed camping area
    • Upper Canyon Creek dispersed camping area
    • EXCEPTION: Alderwood campground and recreation sites on the southern part of Pleasant Valley Ranger District remain open

"Violations of these closures and fire restrictions are punishable by a fine of up to $5,000 for individuals and $10,000 for organizations, imprisonment for up to six months, or both," stated U.S. Forest Service officials.

For more information on fire restrictions and closures in Arizona:

Cave Creek Ranger District
(480) 595-3300 
Mon-Fri from 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. 
Closed from noon - 12:30 p.m. daily

Globe Ranger District
(928) 402-6200 
Mon-Fri from 7:45 a.m. - 4:30p.m. 
Closed from 11:45 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. daily

Mesa Ranger District
(480) 610-3300 
Mon-Fri from 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. 
Closed from noon - 12:30 p.m. daily

Payson Ranger District 
(928) 474-7900
Mon-Fri 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. 
Closed from 12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m. daily

Pleasant Valley Ranger District 
(928) 462-4300.
Open Thursdays only from 7:45 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. 
Closed from noon to 1 p.m.

Tonto Basin Ranger District 
(602) 225-5395
Mon-Sat from 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

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