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We at KNAU know that northern Arizona wildfire information is crucial to our listeners. This page is our comprehensive source for information about the 2014 wildfire season. Here you will find all the latest updates from area fire agencies and national forests as well as wildfire-oriented stories.For breaking news tips, call the KNAU newsroom at (928) 523-4912 or e-mail

With Rain on the Way, Oak Creek Canyon Forest Land to Close Thursday

Ryan Heinsius

Recently, Coconino National Forest officials announced that all forest lands in Oak Creek Canyon will close due to high flooding danger. As Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius reports, with rain predicted later in the week, the start date of the closure has been moved up.

The order, initially slated to begin next week, will now take effect Thursday. According to forest managers, monsoon rains could trigger floods, mudslides and debris flows in the burn area of the recent Slide Fire. A primary concern to officials is the difficulty they could face during an emergency in communicating with the public and conducting evacuations.

All national forest lands in Oak Creek Canyon will be off limits to the public until the end of monsoon season. The closure area stretches from the switchbacks on State Route 89A south to Schnebly Hill Road in Sedona. All campgrounds and roadside pullouts in the canyon will be also be closed. Private, state, county and other non-national forest land will not be affected by the closure.

Last week, forest officials began seeding and mulch treatments of the most severely burned areas in and around Oak Creek Canyon. Their hope is to mitigate the heavy runoff that’s expected during monsoon rains. Also, in cases of emergency, a siren system will be used to alert anyone in the canyon.

Ryan Heinsius joined the KNAU newsroom as executive producer in 2013 and was named news director and managing editor in 2024. As a reporter, he has covered a broad range of stories from local, state and tribal politics to education, economy, energy and public lands issues, and frequently interviews internationally known and regional musicians. Ryan is an Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a Public Media Journalists Association Award winner, and a frequent contributor to NPR's Morning Edition, All Things Considered and national newscast.
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