Smoke Impact Report

Fire Danger & Management | Smoke Reporting

Better Way to Think About Wildland Fires video

Watch A Better Way to Think About Wildfire to learn more about the importance and inevitability of wildland fire in the southwest. [YouTube]

When you report smoke...

...it is emailed to the Coconino National Forest Office of Public Affairs, which then routes your message to the appropriate Fire Management Officer (FMO) and District Ranger on the Coconino National Forest for their awareness and so they can contact you, if requested. The private information you provide, such as your email and phone number, will be kept confidential and is not shared with the public in any way.

If you wish to be contacted regarding your submission, please let us know in your comments and provide an email address or phone number where we can contact you. Our FMO’s and staff do their best to respond to as many submissions received.

Please know that we take smoke impacts seriously, but we cannot control every aspect of prescribed burns or wildfires. If you have health concerns about smoke, please read Health Effects of Smoke from Wildfire and Prescribed Burns from Coconino County's Public Health Services District for tips for protecting yourself and loved ones from the health impacts of wildland fire smoke.

If you wish to make a more formal complaint, you may contact our Southwestern Regional Office to voice your concerns, as well as your Congressional representatives, and Arizona Department of Environmental Quality's Smoke Management Division.

Smoke impacts on local communities are often unforeseeable and unavoidable. Fire managers make their best effort to predict these impacts and provide information about potentially affected areas. The Coconino National Forest plans prescribed burns under the jurisdiction of the ADEQ to minimize smoke impacts from these types of fires.

However, sharing your experience helps us know when and where smoke impacts are occurring. It does not necessarily mean a prescribed burn or managed wildfire will be extinguished immediately, as fires cannot be turned off like a spigot. Once a burn has begun, it will almost always continue until completion because it is unsafe and often impossible to extinguish miles of fireline that is already moving across the landscape. Sometimes the weather unexpectedly changes and the smoke shifts to impact communities, and we don't have the option to just turn off a burn if that happens.

As well, fire on the landscape is an absolute necessity, as we live in a fire-dependent ecosystem. Fire and smoke will occur, and there is no option that removes fire and smoke. With current unhealthy and dense forest conditions, and living in an fire-dependent ecosystem, our choices consist of either:

  1. Choice 1. A prescribed burn or managed wildfire that produces less smoke and keeps the airsheds in a Good to Moderate Air Quality Index, or
  2. Choice 2. A severe uncontrollable wildfire that destroys property, the forest, and possibly lives, while producing severe thick smoke that creates airsheds that are Unhealthy to Hazardous.

Again, there is no option for removing fire and smoke completely. We encourage you to view "A Better Way to Think About Wildfirefor additional information and explanation.

Jump to Glossary: Types of Fire

 

Types of Fires

  • Wildfire: A fire started naturally by lightning or human-caused.
  • Prescribed Fire: A fire created under a ‘prescription’ plan developed by many different specialists in order to treat a specific area with fire to reduce forest fuels and restore that area to healthier state. These fires are started by fire managers and include Broadcast Burning (applying fire along the forest floor with flames that are typically low to the ground) and Pile Burning (igniting ‘slash piles’ of branches and small tree trucks and debris from forest thinning projects). Learn more about prescribed fire.
  • Managed Wildfire for Multiple Objectives: A naturally-occurring wildfire that was started by lightning, which fire managers are allowing to burn safely at a low intensity and "creep" across the forest floor in order to maintain a healthy forest and ecosystem. This type of fire acts as a natural janitor cleaning and restoring the forest to a healthier condition, ultimately reducing build-up of down and dead wood and forest fuels, making it safer for communities and lessening the chances of a severe wildfires in that area. Learn more about managed wildfires

 

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