Next week’s prescribed burns include highly visible Naval Observatory project

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz., May 7, 2021 — Several prescribed burns – including a highly visible project located east of the Naval Observatory in Flagstaff – are scheduled to continue throughout the Coconino National Forest during the weekend and into next week.

The Naval Observatory project, which will tentatively begin on Tuesday, will likely cause large amounts of smoke visible within the City of Flagstaff.

The Upper Beaver Creek project, started in late April, is scheduled to conclude early next week.

Additionally, the Mint East project will potentially begin this weekend and run through the end of next week.

Naval Observatory:

  • When: May 11 through May 14.
  • Where: Flagstaff Ranger District. East of U.S. Naval Observatory, south of I-40. GPS: 35.184, -111.731
  • Why: To continue forest health and restoration in areas previously treated by mechanical thinning projects.
  • Size: 135 acres.
  • Duration: Four days.
  • Method/Type of Burn: Maintenance burn.
  • Smoke Impacts: With west winds predicted, smoke is predicted to move east. Units have been mechanically thinned and previously burned in. Smoke production and duration should be lighter than prescribed fire projects in untreated landscapes. Cooling temperatures in the evenings may cause smoke to settle in the low-lying areas surrounding the burn and along Naval Observatory Road and I-40 corridors. Smoke will be visible to Flagstaff Metro Area, I-17, I-40, Hwy 180, 89 and 89A corridors
  • Closures/Restrictions: None anticipated.

Upper Beaver Creek:

  • When: Monday, May 10.
  • Where: Mogollon Rim Ranger District. Approximately seven miles south of Mormon Lake. GPS: 34.780833, -111.448056
  • Why: This burn is part of a grassland restoration project that will improve forage for cattle and wildlife. It will also reduce hazardous fuels, such as dead wood and pine needles, that have accumulated in the burn area.
  • Size: 1,000 acres.
  • Duration: One to two days.
  • Method/Type of Burn: Broadcast burn.
  • Smoke Impacts: Smoke is expected to move to the northeast, so smoke impact can be expected near Lake Mary Road and surrounding homes south of Stoneman Lake Road.
  • Closures/Restrictions: None are anticipated.
  • Notes: This is the final burn planned on the Upper Beaver Creek area for this spring.

Mint East:

  • When: Scheduled to begin potentially this weekend (May 8).
  • Where: Flagstaff Ranger District. Southeast of Mormon Lake Village, FR 124, 125 and FH3 corridors. GPS: 34.907, -111.407 
  • Why: To promote forest health and restoration in areas previously treated in the Camillo Fire of 2015.
  • Size: 2,554 acres.
  • Duration: Through May 14, roughly one week. 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: Smoke is predicted to move northeast. Cooler evening temperatures may cause smoke to settle in low-lying areas surrounding the burn and along the Lake Mary Road corridor. Smoke will be visible to the Flagstaff metro area, I-17, I-40, Hwy 180, 89 and 89A corridors.
  • Closures/Restrictions: None anticipated.
  • Notes: This burn aims to use aerial ignitions and burn larger acres if possible. If not, smaller blocks will be burned by hand.

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 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: