Yuma, Ariz. – Duck hunters and other outdoor recreationists are advised that, due to the recent wildfire on the Cibola National Wildlife Refuge along the lower Colorado River in southwestern Arizona, the Island Unit is closed until further notice.

The wildfire, which began on Aug. 28, 2011, burned the entire Island Unit (Arizona and California sides), destroying culverts, irrigation gates, roads and wildlife habitat within the area. Due to unsafe conditions created by unstable roads and existing hot spots, the Island Unit has been closed to all public access, including hunting activities. Arizona’s “desert zone” duck hunting season starts Oct. 21, 2011.

The Farm Unit did not burn, so the goose hunt should be unaffected.

The Cibola Juniors Waterfowl Hunt, originally scheduled for December, has been cancelled for this year.

According to a news release issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the refuge is in the process of replacing damaged infrastructure and restoring valuable wildlife habitat. Once full rehabilitation is complete, the Island Unit will be reopened.

For more information, visit http://www.fws.gov/southwest/refuges/CibolaNWR/.

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