Flagstaff AZ (November 17, 2021) – Fire managers with the Flagstaff Ranger District plan to conduct two prescribed burn treatments in areas southwest and southeast of Flagstaff next week in effort to maintain and restore healthier forest conditions while creating buffers between communities and the forest.
A 669-acre unit of the Crater Sinks project is planned for treatment on Tuesday (Nov. 16), located approximately 4 miles west of Kachina Village. This is an initial entry burn, meaning this specific area has not had fire on the landscape in a long time and forest fuel accumulation will produce heavy smoke during the burn.
Residents and visitors to the area can expect to see and smell moderate to heavy amounts of smoke during this one-day operation. During the day, smoke may impact Flagstaff and Doney Park. During the evening, smoke will drain down nearby canyons and likely impact state Route 89A, Sedona and the Verde Valley. Residual smoke from this operation may linger in the area for a day or two after the operation.
The 3E project consists of 256 acres and about is 3 miles southeast of Flagstaff Pulliam Airport. This maintenance burn is planned for some time between Tuesday and Thursday, depending on conditions. Smoke will move with prevailing winds during daylight hours, potentially impacting Flagstaff. Cooling temperatures in the evenings may cause smoke to settle in low-lying areas surrounding the burn, potentially impacting Mountainaire, Kachina Village, and Munds Park, as well as highways and roads near the burn.
Prescribed burns are conducted only when temperature, wind speed and direction, fuel moisture content, relative humidity and other variables meet prescription requirements for a safe and effective operation.
The Forest Service conducts prescribed burns to reduce the build-up of hazardous fuel loads such as leaf litter, grasses and shrubs to prevent the risk of catastrophic wildfires. In addition, these burns improve wildlife habitat and forest health. Certain criteria have to be met in order for a prescribed burn to take place, including smoke dispersal conditions, weather, and adequate staffing, which are all outlined in a burn plan that is thoroughly reviewed before implementation.
Prescribed burns are always dependent upon approval from Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ). The public can view approved prescribed burns on ADEQ’s website at smoke.azdeq.gov. Coconino National Forest burns begin with the designator “COF.”
For more information on why prescribed burns are conducted and how they benefit the landscape and help protect communities, please visit our Prescribed Fire and Forest Health web page.
Notifications of upcoming prescribed burns are provided regularly by news releases throughout the season and by the following online resources: