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Mt. Lemmon trails, roads reopen at midnight

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Mt. Lemmon trails, roads reopen at midnight

  • Drivers making their way up the Catalina Highway to Summerhaven in mid-June were reminded on the danger of wildfires.
    Juan Forrer/TucsonSentinel.comDrivers making their way up the Catalina Highway to Summerhaven in mid-June were reminded on the danger of wildfires.

After weeks of closure because of the extreme fire danger, the Catalina Mountains reopened Wednesday, a U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman said.

The Santa Catalina Ranger District was set to reopen at 11:59 p.m. Wednesday night after monsoon rains reduced the fire risk there, said Heidi Schewel.

The reopening includes the Santa Catalina Mountains, Redington Pass and Happy Valley. Roads, trails and recreation sites in the district will be reopened, Schewel said in a press release.

The Douglas, Nogales, Sierra Vista and Safford ranger districts of the Coronado National Forest remain closed, despite recent rains, she said.

The forest was closed June 9, and areas will remain closed until "we get a good soaking rain," Schewel said on Tuesday.

"Rainfall has been patchy across the remainder of the Forest, with storms skirting around the mountain ranges of Southeast Arizona. Although valleys have received widespread precipitation, mountain ranges have not (with the exception of the Santa Catalina Mountains)," she said.

Areas that were burned are susceptible to flooding, Schewel said. Those areas will remain shut until they are no longer hazardous, she said.

While the Mt. Lemmon area is reopening, restrictions remain. Prohibited in Santa Catalina district will be:

  • Building, maintaining, attending or using a fire, campfire, charcoal, coal, or wood stove fire, including within a developed recreation site or improved site. Exception: The use of petroleum-fueled stoves, lanterns, or heating devices is allowed so long as such devices meet the fire underwriter's specifications for safety.
  • Smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed recreation site, or while stopped in an area at least three feet in diameter, that is barren or cleared of all flammable material.
  • Using an explosive.
  • Operating an internal combustion engine. Exception: Motor vehicles. Welding or operating acetylene or other torch with open flame.
  • Possessing or using a motor vehicle off National Forest System roads. Exceptions: Parking in an area devoid of vegetation within 10 feet of the roadway, or parking in Forest Service developed campgrounds and trail heads.
  • Discharging a firearm, except while engaged in a lawful hunt pursuant to state, federal, or tribal laws and regulations.

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