Prescribed burns planned for this week on Coconino NF

March 29th, 2016 at 9:45 AM

Flagstaff, Ariz., Mar. 25, 2016, For Immediate Release — Fire managers are planning two prescribed burns next week to reintroduce fire into the Ponderosa pine ecosystem and reduce forest fuel accumulation in an area north of San Francisco Peaks and also near Clints Well.

Pete Project: Planned ignition will be Monday (March 28) if conditions are suitable for burning. This burn includes approximately 300 acres located about two miles north of San Francisco Peaks and four miles west of U.S. Route 89. Good ventilation is expected to push smoke to the northeast during the day and will be visible to residents in the immediate area and motorists along U.S Routes 89 and 180. During the evening, smoke could settle in low areas around the burn.

Clints Well Project: Planned ignition will be Monday (March 28), depending on weather and wind conditions in the area.  The burn includes 1,000 acres in an area five miles north of the junction of state Route 87 and Lake Mary Road. The burn could be broken up into two sections comprised of 600 acres and 400 acres that may be burned on different days. Smoke is predicted to disperse to the northeast, and in the evening hours could settle in the local area and West Clear Creek. The community of Clear Creek Pines could be impacted by smoke, as well as motorists traveling along Lake Mary Road in the area.

Prescribed fires are essential tools for restoring the forests in our fire-adapted ecosystem, and smoke is an unavoidable byproduct of these vital efforts. Fire managers strive to minimize smoke impacts to the community as much as possible. They burn when winds and other atmospheric conditions will push the majority of smoke away from homes; they’ll burn larger sections at a time to ultimately limit the number of days smoke is in the air; and they work closely with the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality, partners in the Ponderosa Fire Advisory Council, as well as neighboring forests to monitor air quality.

Crews also seek opportunities to use slash from thinning projects around the community instead of burning it – it is often used as filler at the landfill and offered as firewood to community members. However, no matter how many mechanical means the Forest Service employs to restore forests, fire is a natural and necessary part of this ecosystem, and a restoration tool that cannot be replaced by any mechanical means. Forests need the frequent, low-intensity fire to remove accumulated smaller fuels and recycle nutrients into the soils to promote healthy vegetation and wildlife habitat.  A healthier forest is a safer forest for firefighters and residents when wildfires inevitably occur.

Notifications of upcoming prescribed burns are provided regularly throughout the season. The public can find this information online through several resources:

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