Prescribed burns today, tomorrow near Stoneman Lake | Additional projects planned throughout next week

Release Date: Apr 30, 2021

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz., April 30, 2021 — Coconino National Forest firefighters will be conducting prescribed burns today, tomorrow, and early next week to proactively protect communities from extreme wildfires by reducing forest fuels, while recycling nutrients and increasing habitat diversity.

The Upper Beaver Creek project on the Red Rock Ranger District will burn 543 acres today and continue with 654 acres tomorrow in the area just southwest of Stoneman Lake.

The Peaks project northeast of the San Francisco Peaks on the Flagstaff Ranger District is slated for early next week, which will include two to three days of ignition, burning a total of 3,540 acres throughout the week.

The Mint East project, also on the Flagstaff Ranger District, is also tentatively planned throughout next week, burning 2,554 acres in the area just east of the community of Mormon Lake.

Prescribed burns are one of the most effective tools available to resource managers for restoring fire-dependent ecosystems. Each prescribed burn is designed to mimic natural fires and meet specific objectives important to restoring the forest to healthier conditions.

Upper Beaver Creek (Units 4, 6, 7)

  • When: Today and tomorrow.
  • Where: Red Rock Ranger District. Approximately 13 miles southeast of Sedona. GPS: 34.754450, -111.597867
  • Why: This burn is part of a grassland restoration project that will improve forage for cattle and wildlife.
  • Size: 543 acres today, and 654 acres planned for Saturday (May 1).
  • Duration: Two days.
  • Method/Type of Burn: Broadcast initial entry burn. Smoke will be very noticeable since this area has not had fire on the landscape in some time.
  • Smoke Impacts: Daytime smoke impacts could include Lake Mary Road toward the east and the community of Stoneman Lake.  Nighttime impacts could include the Village of Oak Creek, Rimrock, Montezuma Well, sections of I-17 where low areas cross the Interstate, and Camp Verde.
  • Closures/Restrictions: Stoneman Lake road (Forest Road 213) could be impacted in short durations, and Forest Service patrols will be evaluating the need for short closures during the burn.
  • Note: I-17 will be signed and coordination with ADOT will be ongoing.  Night patrols on I-17 may be possible depending on where the smoke will settle overnight.  This project will produce high volumes of smoke during ignitions, but the smoke output will be short lived.

Peaks

  • When: Ignitions planned early next week, possibly Monday and Tuesday, and continue throughout the week.
  • Where: Flagstaff Ranger District. Approximately 15 miles north of Flagstaff, just northeast of the San Francisco Peaks. GPS: 35.405, -111.637
  • Why: This treatment will provide for forest health and restoration in areas north of Forest Road 418, while protecting wilderness areas south of FR 418 and private land inholdings northeast of the project area.
  • Size: 3,540 acres total.
  • Duration: This burn is divided into four separate blocks that will be completed over three to seven days, depending on weather conditions.
  • Method/Type of Burn: Broadcast maintenance burn.
  • Smoke Impacts: With southwest winds predicted, smoke should move northeast and be visible for many miles. Cooling temperatures in the evenings may cause smoke to settle in the low-lying areas surrounding the burn and along U.S. Highway 89 northeast of the mountains, as well as Deadman Wash.
  • Closures/Restrictions: No roads or trails will be closed or restricted due to this burn, though Forest Road 413 and 773 may be impacted with increased firefighter traffic and smoke.
  • Note: Firefighters plan to use aerial ignition techniques to accomplish larger burn acres in a smaller time. If not suitable, the sections will be burned by drip torch.

Mint East

  • When: Ignitions planned early next week, possibly Monday and Tuesday.
  • Where: Flagstaff Ranger District. Approximately 3 miles east of the Mormon Lake community. GPS: 34.907, -111.407
  • Why: This treatment is a continuation of forest restoration in areas previously treated in the Camillo Fire of 2015.
  • Size: 2,554 acres total.
  • Duration: This burn is divided into three separate blocks that will be completed over three to seven days, depending on weather conditions.
  • Method/Type of Burn: Broadcast maintenance burn.
  • Smoke Impacts: With southwest winds predicted, smoke should move northeast. Cooling temperatures in the evenings may cause smoke to settle in the low-lying areas surrounding the burn and along the Lake Mary road corridor. Smoke will be visible to the Flagstaff area, and motorists traveling near the area on Interstate 17 and 40.
  • Closures/Restrictions: No roads or trails will be closed or restricted due to this burn, though Forest roads 124, 125, and Lake Mary road may be impacted with increased firefighter traffic and smoke.
  • Note: Firefighters plan to use aerial ignition techniques to accomplish larger burn acres in a smaller time. If not suitable, the sections will be burned by drip torch.

Prescribed burns are always dependent upon weather and wind conditions, as well as 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.”

Notifications of upcoming prescribed burns are provided regularly by news releases throughout the season and also by the following online resources: