Fire managers continue work on the 3Echo prescribed burn project south of Flagstaff



FLAGSTAFF, Ariz., May 9, 2024 — Coconino National Forest fire managers will resume spring prescribed fire plans for the 3Echo prescribed burn project, looking to burn approximately 2,700 acres today 5 miles south of Flagstaff.

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Wednesday’s burn was successful in treating 1,700 acres and went as planned with the weather and wind lifting and blowing smoke impacts up and away from the community.

Fire managers will conducted a test ignition Thursday at 9:30 a.m. to ensure conditions are appropriate and safe for continuing with the burn project. If conditions are appropriate, fire managers will commence burning and a large smoke plume will be seen south of Flagstaff just southeast of the airport.

Successful prescribed burns require ideal conditions. 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.

“Hazardous fuels” – including pine needle accumulation, dead and down trees and decaying plant matter on forest floors – need to be dry enough to burn at a low rate of intensity, but not too dry as to burn hot and fast.

Planned prescribed burn projects will always be canceled if weather conditions – such as temperature, wind and humidity – do not meet the criteria outlined in the burn plan.

More information about the relationship between prescribed fire and weather is available at coconinonationalforest.us, and the latest updates regarding prescribed fire plans on the Coconino National Forest can be found at inciweb.wildfire.gov.

3Echo Prescribed Burn Project (Flagstaff Ranger District)

-Dates: May 8 through May 10 (Wednesday through Friday). Duration: Three days. Location: 5 miles south of Flagstaff: Between Lower Lake Mary and Mountainaire.

-Size: 4,622 acres. Click here for the project map.

-Type of burn: Broadcast, maintenance.

-Smoke impacts: Smoke will be highly visible from the City of Flagstaff and all surrounding areas. Smoke is expected to travel in an east or northeast direction during ignitions, and possible daytime impacts will be felt on the east side of Flagstaff, along Interstate 40, at Walnut Canyon National Monument, along Lake Mary Road south of Flagstaff and in the Continental community. Smoke may settle in low-lying areas overnight.

-Why: This prescribed burn project will reduce hazardous forest fuels south of Flagstaff, thus lessening the risk of catastrophic unplanned wildfire during times of critical fire weather. This project also reintroduces fire into a fire-adapted ecosystem.

-Notes: There are no closures anticipated.

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