Flagstaff, Ariz. (October 16, 2014) – Last week’s planned prescribed fires were cancelled because the recent rains made fuels too wet to burn. Applying fire to the landscape would’ve created a significant amount of smoke, but the fuels would not have been consumed enough for the burn to have served its purpose. This week, the needles and debris along the forest floor are in better condition for fire to burn successfully. Pending all other favorable conditions, fire managers are planning to conduct the following prescribed fires Thursday and Friday.
For Thursday, Oct 16:
– Eastside Project: 125 acres off the south side of Elden Lookout Road (Forest Road 557), approximately 2 miles east of Hwy 180. Smoke will be noticeable north of Flagstaff and is expected to disperse to the northeast with the forecast southwest winds. Overnight, residual smoke will settle in low areas.
*This burn is also part of the Flagstaff Watershed Protection Project – the voter-approved, multi-agency effort aimed at reducing the risk of severe fire and flooding in the Dry Lake Hills and Mormon Mountain areas. Planning fuels treatments in the larger FWPP area is currently underway, and efforts in “NEPA ready” areas like this Eastside Project are ongoing on National Forest, State and City lands. Learn more at www.flagstaffwatershedprojection.org
For Friday Oct 17:
– A1 Project: 325 acres west of Flagstaff and north of Interstate 40. Smoke would be noticeable from Flagstaff, Bellemont, Fort Valley, and I-40 and disperse to the northeast. Overnight smoke may settle around Bellemont, Fort Valley, I-40 and Hwy 180.
– Lake Mary Project: 115 acres south of Flagstaff and west of Lake Mary. Smoke would be noticeable south of Flagstaff and disperse to the northeast. Overnight, residual smoke may settle around Lake Mary Rd, Walnut Canyon, I-40, and the southern and eastern communities of Flagstaff including Lake Mary Meadows, Herold Ranch, Heckethorn, Country Club and Cosnino.
The forest depends on frequent low-severity fire – natural and necessary part of this ecosystem cannot be replaced by any mechanical effort — to reduce accumulated vegetation, enhance wildlife habitat, and recycle valuable nutrients into the soil. The result is a healthier forest with reduced risk of severe fire behavior and safer conditions for the community and firefighters.
All prescribed fire activity is dependent on personnel availability, fuel conditions, weather – including ventilation conditions – and approval from the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ).
Fire managers strive to minimize smoke impacts to the community as much as possible. They burn when winds and other atmospheric conditions will push the majority of smoke away from homes; they’ll burn larger sections at a time to ultimately limit the number of days smoke is in the air; and they work closely with ADEQ, partners in the Ponderosa Fire Advisory Council, as well as neighboring forests to monitor air quality.
Additional prescribed fire information:
Prescribed Fire Hotline: 928-226-4607
Coconino website “News and Events”: www.coconinonationalforest.us