Flagstaff, AZ (October 28, 2011) – Depending on weather conditions next week, fire managers are considering both prescribed pile burns as well as broadcast burn projects on the Coconino National Forest. Broadcast burning involves applying low intensity fire across the forest floor and requires slightly drier conditions since the fuels being consumed are smaller. Alternately, to burn the larger branches and debris in slash piles, fire managers need higher moisture levels to keep fire from spreading to the surrounding vegetation.
With favorable conditions and approval from the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality, fire managers have tentative plans to work on the following prescribed fire projects the week of October 31.
For Monday, October 31:
Victorine Project: 100 acres of broadcast burning southeast of the community of Blue Ridge, approximately 10 miles north of Knoll Lake. Smoke would disperse to the south. Light smoke may be noticeable on Hwy 87 and in the Blue Ridge community.
Eastside Project: Up to 30 acres of pile burning south of Flagstaff off Harold Ranch Road. Light smoke may be visible behind Little America during ignition. The piles are small and will be completely consumed before nightfall; little to no overnight smoke or impacts to the community are expected.
Additional projects fire managers will consider for the remainder of the week.
Ft. Valley Project – Up to 10 acres of broadcast burning. This will be a one-day burn conducted for research purposes within the Fort Valley Experimental Forest. This area is burned annually. Less fuel and the small size of the burn means smoke will be lighter. It will likely be noticeable on Highway 180.
Mint Project – Pile burning south of Mormon Lake Village. Piles are larger, made with machinery during recent logging activity; Smoke will be noticeable from Mormon Lake Village as well as Forest Highway 3 (Lake Mary Rd). Most of the smoke will disperse away from the community during the day, however residual smoke may settle in the area overnight.
Prescribed fire activity is dependent on personnel availability, weather – especially winds and ventilation, and approval from the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (www.azdeq.gov).
Fire managers work hard to minimize smoke impacts to the communities while continuing to address the critical need to reduce the risk of severe wildfires around those communities. Crews make every effort to keep smoke impacts as minimal as possible including cancelling burns when conditions aren’t favorable, finding alternative uses for the debris in slash piles, and timing ignitions to allow the majority of smoke time to disperse prior to settling overnight.
In addition, the Coconino National Forest coordinates prescribed fire plans with the partners of the Ponderosa Fire Advisory Council (which includes local fire departments), as well as neighboring forests, to reduce the overall impact of smoke on the communities.
The public can obtain additional prescribed fire information by via the following:
- Prescribed Fire Hotline: 928-226-4607
- Coconino National Forest Website: www.fs.fed.us/r3/coconino
- Click on the Prescribed Fire icon to 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