FLAGSTAFF, Ariz., Aug. 27, 2021 — The Fossil Creek recreation area, located within the burned area of the Backbone Fire, will remain closed through 2021 and potentially into the fall of 2022 or later as personnel work to assess and repair damage.
The decision to keep Fossil Creek closed to the public was made at the recommendation of a Burned Area Emergency Response team due to elevated post-fire risks in the area, such as flash floods, debris flows and dead trees.
A public safety closure order is in place. This order restricts access of any type -- by hike, bike, boat or vehicle -- in areas where hazards are most likely to be prevalent. Entering into the restricted area as defined by the closure order is prohibited.
Due to a combination of fire damage and monsoonal rain damage, Forest Roads 708 and 502 are currently impassable.
Photos of some of the damage to Fossil Creek and surrounding areas are available on the Coconino NF's Flickr page.
During the closure, Forest Service personnel will be implementing a variety of projects recommended by the BAER team. These projects include clearing roads and monitoring them after storms, treatments to prevent the spread of invasive species and the installation of new signage.
The closure area will be closely monitored. The Coconino NF will consider reopening the Fossil Creek area to the public once the elevated post-fire risk to visitors has subsided.
All permits issued through recreation.gov have been canceled and refunded.
Portions of Fossil Creek located within the Tonto National Forest, such as the Bob Bear (formerly Fossil Springs) Trail, will remain closed as well.
The lightning-caused Backbone Fire, which began two miles west of Pine, Ariz., on June 16, 2021, encompassed nearly 42,000 acres, including the majority of the Fossil Creek area.
Day Hiking & general trail related
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Fossil Creek to remain closed through remainder of calendar year, restoration work in progress
Bummer dude. I figured it was still closed due to flash flood risk. It might be closed through fall of 2022 though. Rats... Thanks for sharing.