Authorities say more than 5,000 people gathered in the Tonto National Forest northeast of Phoenix over the weekend for an illegal party broken up by US Forest Service personnel.
The Tonto National Forest requires a permit application to be submitted and approved for all gatherings of more than 75 people.
Officers patrolling the Sycamore Creek area Saturday night came across the unauthorized rally.
Images showed what appeared to be a band performing on stage in front of the general public. Many people were seen wearing masks waving glow sticks.
Authorities say more than 5,000 people gathered in the Tonto National Forest northeast of Phoenix last weekend for an illegal party broken up by U.S. Forest Service personnel.
During the illegal activity, people were seen dancing for what appears to be a band
Officers patrolling the Sycamore Creek area Saturday night came across the unauthorized rally (photo)
Many people were seen without masks holding flares up during the meeting
According to a US Forest Service Facebook, the incident “ endangered the public, Forest Service personnel and first responders ”
Partygoers are seen in front of what appears to be a stage while a band is playing during the illegal event
According to a Facebook from the US Forest Service, the incident ‘the public, ranger personnel and first responders at risk ‘.
Scott Garlid of the Arizona Wildlife Federation said KPHO that ‘off-road driving is something that we support as an organization. It’s something that many Arizonans enjoy.
‘But if you get so many people in one place, you do it at the expense of other people who want to enjoy it and of course nature itself.’
Officials said campers and partygoers restricted access by taping off sections of the main road to signify the party area and that vehicles were parked along the main roads.
Authorities said violations included DUI, double driving, speeding, reckless vehicle driving, setting up camps in illegal areas, blocking roads, illegal use of fireworks and target shooting.
By the end of the night, seven car accidents and multiple reports of stolen SUVs had been reported.
Officials said campers and partygoers restricted access by taping off sections of the main road to denote the party area and vehicles were parked along the main roads
An artist is seen playing a guitar during a performance at the illegal gathering
Authorities said violations included DUI, double driving, speeding, reckless vehicle use, camps in illegal areas, road blocking, illegal use of fireworks and target shooting
Revelers flouted COVID-19 guidelines and didn’t wear masks at the mass event
During the illegal rally on Saturday, people were seen dancing while waving glow sticks
Deputies from the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office responded to the event, but no arrests were made
Authorities said a person was taken to a hospital with an airlift after being injured when two quad bikes collided. A vehicle is seen turned on its side after the incident
Authorities said a person was taken to a hospital with an airlift after being injured when two quad bikes collided with each other.
Deputies from the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office responded to the event, but no arrests were made.
Susan Blake of the Tonto National Forest told KPHO that the incident was probably the largest unauthorized gathering they have ever had in the forest.
The 2.9-acre Tonto National Forest is the seventh largest national forest in the United States.
Arizona Governor Doug Ducey never issued a statewide mask mandate, but state officials “encouraged personal accountability,” prompting many cities and towns to enact their own mask requirements.
In a new executive order, Ducey said all city and municipal mandates will be “ phased out. ”
On Wednesday, Arizona added 750 cases and 27 deaths. The state health department encouraged residents to “wear a mask, take a physical distance, wash your hands often, stay home when you are sick and get vaccinated.”
More than 2.3 million people have received at least one dose of the vaccine in Arizona, while 1.4 million have received both doses.