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Concerned about dangers posed by potential flash floods, mudslides and falling rock in the wake of the Slide Fire, the U.S. Forest Service will close the Coconino National Forest in Oak Creek Canyon until the end of monsoon season.Dustin Woodman, from the Coconino County Public Works Department, tells a community meeting on Thursday, June 19, about the potential dangers that monsoon season will bring to Oak Creek Canyon due to the Slide Fire.

"It was a complicated decision; we considered it from every angle," Red Rock Ranger Nicole Branton told a community meeting Thursday, June 19, at Sedona Red Rock High School. "We're public servants, we have to protect the public."

The closure doesn't affect private property owners or businesses, nor does it apply to Slide Rock State Park except the part that lies on Forest Service land, she said.
Branton acknowledged the negative effect on tourism, but said she would work with the Sedona Chamber of Commerce to steer visitors to other attractions in the area.

Both the beginning and end of the closure are fluid.

"Timing is the tricky part....We'll try to give people the July Fourth weekend," Branton said.

The end of monsoon season is generally considered to be in September. The Forest Service will consult with the National Weather Service to decide timing on either end, she said.

At Thursday's meeting, Branton was one of several representatives from agencies working to assess and attempt to mitigate post-fire environmental effects.
For more information from the meeting, see the Wednesday, June 25 edition of the Sedona Red Rock News.

 


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