Prescribed Fires and Smoke

 

Rogue River Hotshots Igniting an Rx BurnIn northern Arizona, we love our forests. Our forests are the setting for various recreational activities and provide the backdrop for our community. But, while it may not always be evident, our forests are sick. Many parts of our forest are susceptible to insect infestations, disease, and catastrophic wildfire. It is because of our love of our forest, and our desire to improve its health that we prescribe fire. Much like a doctor prescribes medication to a sick patient, Forest Service managers sometimes prescribe fire to improve the health of our local forests. [MORE]

 

Prescribed burns are termed such because they are conducted within a “prescription” that defines the fuel moisture levels, air temperatures, wind conditions, and relative humidity levels that are appropriate for each project. 

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 by working closely with ADEQ, partners in the Ponderosa Fire Advisory Council, as well as neighboring forests to monitor air quality. 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 to ultimately limit the number of days smoke is in the air.

Fall 2013 Prescribed Burning on the Coconino National Forest

Up to 11,200 acres of prescribed fire treatments are tentatively planned across the forest this season. Acreages are estimates and tentative, depending on how often and how long conditions are suitable. This chart below lists the areas and project names. Specific locations and dates are not scheduled, as burning is based on conditions, and will be determined on a weekly and daily basis.

 

Ranger District Total Acres Project Name Location
Flagstaff

800

Eastside

Elden lookout road, Heckathorn and Harold Ranch area

Flagstaff

300

Munds Park

Immediately south of Munds Park

Flagstaff

500

Fort Valley

North of Flagtaff, east of Snowbowl

Flagstaff

1000

Mountainaire

South of Lake Mary Road to Mountainaire

Flagstaff

200

Kachina

Hwy 89A and Forest Highlands area

Flagstaff

350

Lake Mary

Lake Mary Meadows

Flagstaff

500

A-1

North of Bellemont

Flagstaff

1000

Woody Ridge

West of 89A near Fort Tuthill

Mogollon Rim

1500

Blue Ridge Urban Interface

South of Blue Ridge communities, along Hwy 87

Mogollon Rim

1500

Victorine

Southeast of Blue Ridge Ranger Station

Mogollon Rim

3000

Bar T Bar

South of Winslow, north of Blue Ridge Ranger Station

Red Rock

500

Upper Beaver Creek

Stoneman Lake area, northeast of Camp Verde

Red Rock

50

Oak Creek

Oak Creek canyon, north of Sedona

 


Prescribed Fire Information:

Fall 2013 Project AreasFor technical locations of all daily approved projects, visit the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality approval site. The Coconino's approved burns will have a "Burn #" beginning with "COF". General locations can be seen on the Project Area Map. Use the Coconino NF Map to find the specific Township/Range/Section listed on the approval site.

  • Subscribe to receive regular email notifications: http://www.fs.fed.us/news/subscription
    • Choose “Southwestern Region” (you'll receive all news from the Coconino and Kaibab National Forests, including regular prescribed fire notifications)
  • Prescribed Fire Recorded Hotline: 928-226-4607
  • Follow us on Twitter: www.twitter.com/CoconinoNF
  • Local Ranger Stations: Flagstaff Ranger District (Flagstaff), 928-526-0866; Red Rock Ranger District (Sedona) 928-203-2900; Mogollon Rim Ranger District (Blue Ridge) 928-477-2255

Benefits of Prescribed Burning

  • Reduces fuel build-up.
  • Dead wood, overcrowded, unhealthy trees, and thick layers of pine needles can all contribute to catastrophic wildfires including crown fires.
  • Prepares the land for new growth.
  • When excess vegetation or needle layers are burned off, nitrogen and other nutrients are released into the soil and become available for new plants to grow.
  • Helps certain plants/trees germinate.
  • Many native plant and forest communities have adapted to fire for their germination and growth. Seed contact with soil (such as that exposed by a fire) is necessary for some species to naturally regenerate.
  • Naturally thins overcrowded forests.
  • Historically, natural fire thinned the forests. Thinned forests can recover faster and are more resistant to insect and disease attacks. Currently, many of the mature forests are overcrowded, resulting in a lack of vigor and health.
  • Creates diversity needed by wildlife.
  • Fire provides diverse habitat for plants and animals. Grazing wildlife such as Elk and Deer benefit from new growth as shrubs produce edible leaves when re-sprouting after a fire.