Meeting on Fire and Smoke Management
Sedona, AZ (August 9, 2011) – In response to recent concerns regarding wildland fires and smoke management in the Verde Valley, the Forest Service and the City of Sedona are hosting an Open House meeting at the City Council Chambers, August 23, from 4 to 6 p.m. Fire Managers from the Coconino, Prescott and Kaibab National Forests and Arizona Department of Environmental Quality will be available to talk to the public concerning smoke issues.
Background information and considerations regarding fire management:
Firefighter and Public safety is the first priority when fighting fires.
There are two types of fire in the forest: Wildfires and Prescribed fires.
Fire hazards and dense growth conditions throughout our forests have increased over the years. Due to these conditions wildfires can produce a large amount of smoke.
When a wildfire begins in the forest, we assess many things that help us determine how the fire will be managed. Sometimes we can use fire as nature intended and reduce heavy fuel accumulations. At other times, we actively fight fires when communities, property or people are at risk.
Wildfires and Prescribed Fires can produce smoke because of the high concentration of available woody material in the forests, which may in turn affect communities. The Coconino, Kaibab, and Prescott National Forests are working together to minimize smoke impacts. We work and live in areas that may be impacted by fire and we understand the concerns of smoke.
Examples of the strategies we use to safely manage fires and smoke impacts include the following:
– Coordinate and Collaborate with local Agencies and National Forests to minimize smoke impacts.
– Plan prescribed fires when weather can help ventilate and disperse smoke near communities.
– Shorten active burning periods of prescribed fires and wildfires.
– Mitigate heavy fuels that can emit smoke for extended periods of time.
– Work closely with ADEQ to monitor air quality during burning events by using air quality monitors, which can be viewed on-line. (http://www.phoenixvis.net/PPMmain.aspx)
– Burn larger acres in shorter periods of time to mitigate long term smoke exposure.
When Wildfires occur or prescribed fires are planned we inform the public to raise awareness of possible smoke impacts to communities. This is completed in several of ways, including press releases for radio and newspapers, public website postings, and e-mail notification.
In 2010, we had more than 236 wildfires on the Coconino National Forest, 114 were human caused and 122 lightning-caused. Overall, fire frequency has declined in comparison to 300 fires in 2009 and the 5 year average.
Sedona City Council Chamber is located at 102 Roadrunner Drive, in West Sedona. For more information, please contact the Red Rock Ranger District at 928-203-7500. Current wildland fire information can be found on the Coconino National Forest website at: http://www.coconinoforest.us