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Lower Verde River reopens after Backbone Fire closure

Fossil Creek Backbone Fire
Coconino National Forest
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Riparian vegetation along Fossil Creek near the Homestead recreation site burned in the 2021 Backbone Fire.

Coconino National Forest officials say the lower Verde River has reopened to recreationists.

The area was impacted by last summer’s Backbone Fire and has been closed to visitors since.

Officials say, however, that the Childs Creek area and Fossil Creek will remain closed and river users should plan to take out at Gap Creek or be prepared to go more than 40 miles further to Sheep Bridge or Horseshoe Reservoir.

The Fossil Creek corridor will stay closed because of post-fire hazards like dead trees, flash floods and debris dams.

The area’s closure order is set to expire at the end of the year but could be rescinded earlier if conditions are deemed safe or extended if danger persists.