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Hazard rules remain in place for Santa Catalina Mountain hikers

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TUCSON (KVOA) - The mountains are open and people want to get out and enjoy the outdoors. Since the Bighorn Fire, there are some restrictions in place to keep people away from hazardous areas.

Many hiking trails in the Catalina Mountains are still closed like Sabino Canyon, but some are breaking the rules and going hiking in this area despite the new dangers.

Because of the new dangers, the Coronado National Forest has released an order for anyone that wants to hike in the mountains.

The closure order was implemented on July 15 and it is set to expire on November 1. The maps of the closed area is here. This closure includes trails, campgrounds and day-use areas. 

Dorilis Camacho is the Public Affairs Officer for the Coronado National Forest and she said, "We want to emphasize that it is important for people to respect the order there are hazards in the scar we don't want to see anyone injured our priority is always safety."

If you go hiking here you will see many new signs blocking off areas that were burned badly by the Bighorn Fire.

Camacho said, "One of the other big concern is that there are hardened tree stubs in the trail corridor that means there are sharp pieces of broken Aspen that could Pierce through someone's skin."

The park rangers are taking this seriously. They've already handed out 20 citations for people that have violated the order.

Those citations could cost up to $5,000 or 6 months in prison for serious offenses.

There was also someone walking along burn scared ground that broke an ankle and had to be helped off the mountain.

It may take the habitat and vegetation on the forest a few years to recover from a fire like the Bighorn Fire but that does not mean that the areas will remain closed until the forest is fully recovered. To find recreation opportunities in the Coronado National Forest, visit their  website.

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Daniel McFarland

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