Prescribed burns to continue throughout Flagstaff, Red Rock ranger districts

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz., May 3, 2021 — Coconino National Forest firefighters will be continuing ongoing work on seasonal prescribed burns in both the Flagstaff and Red Rock ranger districts throughout the week.

The Upper Beaver Creek project on the Red Rock Ranger District near Stoneman Lake -- started last week -- will continue today. Of the 2,000 acres planned for this week, 920 acres are scheduled to be burned today.

The Peaks project northeast of the San Francisco Peaks on the Flagstaff Ranger District, which will burn 3,540 acres throughout the week, will begin today as well.

The Mint East project, also on the Flagstaff Ranger District, is also tentatively planned to begin later this week and into the weekend, 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

  • When: Today and throughout the week.
  • Where: Mogollon Rim Ranger District. Approximately 7 miles south of Mormon Lake. GPS: 34.814884, -111.466841
  • Why: This burn is part of a grassland restoration project that will improve forage for cattle and wildlife.
  • Size: 920 acres today (May 3), and 1,080 additional acres throughout the week.
  • Duration: Several 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: Smoke is forecasted to flow to the southeast, so smoke impact can be expected near Lake Mary Road and Stoneman Lake Road until early morning hours on May 4.
  • 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 this 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: 240 acres today (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 potentially planned later this week and into the weekend.
  • 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 I-17 and I-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:





https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/coconino/news-events/?cid=FSEPRD907992