Flagstaff AZ (October 20, 2012) – Due to the considerable moisture the forest received during last weekend’s storm, much of the fuel in the Flagstaff area was too wet burn thoroughly. Coconino National Forest crews didn’t conduct any prescribed fires this week. “Water and fire don’t mix well. If we burn when fuels are too wet or too green, the fire can’t consume the fuels thoroughly and we’d likely have to redo it at a later date,” says Forest Fuels Manager Vic Morfin. “We want to keep smoke impacts as minimal as possible, so we wait for windows when conditions will allow burns to be more effective.”
Pending favorable conditions, fire managers are planning to continue burn efforts on the Victorine project near Blue Ridge starting Monday. Prescribed burns in the Flagstaff area are planned beginning Tuesday.
For Monday, October 22
Victorine Project – 500 acres located approximately 5 miles southeast of Highway 87, 8 miles northeast of Blue Ridge Reservoir. Smoke will disperse to the north. Overnight residual smoke may be noticeable in the Blue Ridge communities. Fire managers are planning to continue burning in this project all week, with approximately 500 acres per day.
Tuesday, crews are planning to burn on the Eastside Project south of Flagstaff just off Lake Mary Road near the Heckethorn neighborhood. A small burn is planned for Wednesday at Ft Valley north of Flagstaff as part of ongoing research for the Riverside Fire Lap. For the remainder of the week, fire managers may also look for suitable conditions in the Woody Ridge Project southeast of Flagstaff and/or continue efforts on the Eastside Project.
All prescribed fire activity is dependent on personnel availability, weather – including winds and ventilation, and approval from the ADEQ (www.azdeq.gov).
Fire managers make every effort to minimize smoke impacts to the communities while continuing to address the critical need to reduce the risk of severe wildfires around those communities. Tactics to keep smoke impacts as minimal as possible include canceling approved burns when conditions aren’t favorable, finding alternative uses for the debris in slash piles, timing daytime ignitions to allow the majority of smoke time to disperse prior to settling overnight, and burning larger sections at a time when conditions are favorable to reduce the overall number of days smoke is in the area.
In addition, the Coconino National Forest coordinates prescribed fire plans with the partners of the Ponderosa Fire Advisory Council (which includes state and local fire departments), as well as neighboring forests, to reduce the impact of smoke on the communities.
The public can obtain additional prescribed fire information via the following:
- Prescribed Fire Hotline: 928-226-4607
- Coconino National Forest Website: www.usda.gov/coconino
- Click on “Prescribed Fire” on the right of the page
- Sign-up for regular email notifications of planned burns:
- Choose “Southwestern Region”
- Follow us on Twitter: www.twitter.com/CoconinoNF
- Local Ranger Stations: Flagstaff Ranger District, 928-526-0866; Red Rock Ranger District (Sedona) 928-203-2900; Mogollon Rim Ranger District (Blue Ridge) 928-477-2255