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More than 5,000 people attend illegal party at Tonto National Forest

More than 5,000 people gathered last weekend in the Tonto National Forest northeast of Phoenix for an illegal party that was broken up by US Forest Service personnel, according to authorities.

The Tonto National Forest requires a permit application to be submitted and approved for all gatherings of over 75 people.

Officers patrolling in the Sycamore Creek area Saturday night came across the unauthorized gathering.

Images showed what appeared to be a band performing on a stage area in front of the massive crowd. Many people were seen without wearing masks while waving glow sticks. 

More than 5,000 people gathered last weekend in the Tonto National Forest northeast of Phoenix for an illegal party that was broken up by US Forest Service personnel, according to authorities

More than 5,000 people gathered last weekend in the Tonto National Forest northeast of Phoenix for an illegal party that was broken up by US Forest Service personnel, according to authorities

People were seen dancing in front of what appears to be a band during the illegal activity

People were seen dancing in front of what appears to be a band during the illegal activity

People were seen dancing in front of what appears to be a band during the illegal activity 

Officers patrolling in the Sycamore Creek area Saturday night came across the unauthorized gathering (pictured)

Officers patrolling in the Sycamore Creek area Saturday night came across the unauthorized gathering (pictured)

Officers patrolling in the Sycamore Creek area Saturday night came across the unauthorized gathering (pictured) 

Many people were seen without masks while holding up glow sticks during the gathering

Many people were seen without masks while holding up glow sticks during the gathering

Many people were seen without masks while holding up glow sticks during the gathering 

According to a Facebook from the US Forest Service, the incident put ' the public, Forest Service personnel and first responders at risk'

According to a Facebook from the US Forest Service, the incident put ' the public, Forest Service personnel and first responders at risk'

According to a Facebook from the US Forest Service, the incident put ‘ the public, Forest Service personnel and first responders at risk’

Partygoers are seen in front of what appears to be a stage area as a band plays during the illegal event

Partygoers are seen in front of what appears to be a stage area as a band plays during the illegal event

Partygoers are seen in front of what appears to be a stage area as a band plays during the illegal event 

According to a Facebook from the US Forest Service, the incident put ‘the public, Forest Service personnel and first responders at risk’. 

Scott Garlid with the Arizona Wildlife Federation told KPHO that ‘off-roading is something that we support as an organization. It’s something that a lot of Arizonans enjoy’.

‘But when you get that many people in one place, you’re doing it to the detriment of other people who want to enjoy it and of course the wildlife itself.’

Officials said campers and partiers restricted access by taping off sections of the main road to designate the party area and vehicles were parked all along the main roads.

Authorities said violations included DUI, double riding, speeding, reckless vehicle operation, staging camps in illegal areas, blocking roadways, illegal use of fireworks and target shooting.

By the end of the night, there had been seven vehicle accidents reported and multiple reports of stolen off-highway vehicles.

Officials said campers and partiers restricted access by taping off sections of the main road to designate the party area and vehicles were parked all along the main roads

Officials said campers and partiers restricted access by taping off sections of the main road to designate the party area and vehicles were parked all along the main roads

Officials said campers and partiers restricted access by taping off sections of the main road to designate the party area and vehicles were parked all along the main roads

A performer is seen playing a guitar during a performance at the illegal gathering

A performer is seen playing a guitar during a performance at the illegal gathering

A performer is seen playing a guitar during a performance at the illegal gathering 

Authorities said violations included DUI, double riding, speeding, reckless vehicle operation, staging camps in illegal areas, blocking roadways, illegal use of fireworks and target shooting

Authorities said violations included DUI, double riding, speeding, reckless vehicle operation, staging camps in illegal areas, blocking roadways, illegal use of fireworks and target shooting

Authorities said violations included DUI, double riding, speeding, reckless vehicle operation, staging camps in illegal areas, blocking roadways, illegal use of fireworks and target shooting

Revelers flouted COVID-19 guidance and went without wearing masks during the massive event

Revelers flouted COVID-19 guidance and went without wearing masks during the massive event

Revelers flouted COVID-19 guidance and went without wearing masks during the massive event 

People were seen dancing while waving glow sticks during the illegal gathering on Saturday

People were seen dancing while waving glow sticks during the illegal gathering on Saturday

People were seen dancing while waving glow sticks during the illegal gathering on Saturday 

Deputies from the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office responded to the event but no arrests were made

Deputies from the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office responded to the event but no arrests were made

Revelers are seen holding up glow sticks during the party

Revelers are seen holding up glow sticks during the party

Deputies from the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office responded to the event but no arrests were made

Authorities said one person was airlifted to a hospital after getting injured when two quads collided. A vehicle is seen turned onto its side following the incident

Authorities said one person was airlifted to a hospital after getting injured when two quads collided. A vehicle is seen turned onto its side following the incident

Authorities said one person was airlifted to a hospital after getting injured when two quads collided. A vehicle is seen turned onto its side following the incident 

Authorities said one person was airlifted to a hospital after getting injured when two quads collided.

Deputies from the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office responded to the event but no arrests were made. 

Susan Blake with the Tonto National Forest told KPHO that the incident was likely the largest unauthorized gathering they’ve ever had in the forest. 

The 2.9-acre Tonto National Forest is the seventh-largest national forest in the United States. 

Arizona Gov Doug Ducey never issued a statewide mask mandate, but state officials ‘encouraged personal responsibility’, which prompted many cities and towns to implement their own mask requirements. 

In a new executive order, Ducey said all city and town mandates ‘will be phased out’.

On Wednesday, Arizona added 750 cases and 27 deaths. The state’s health department encouraged residents ‘wear a mask, physically distance, wash your hands frequently, stay home when you are sick, and get vaccinated’.

More than 2.3 million have received at least one dose of the vaccine in Arizona with 1.4 million having received both doses.  


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bourbiza

Bourbiza Mohamed. Writer and Political Discourse Analysis.

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