Prescribed burns planned for today in Flagstaff area

April 15th, 2022 at 7:00 AM

The Coconino National Forest will begin conducting prescribed burns tomorrow along Lake Mary Road approximately 4 miles south of Flagstaff (35.127880, -111.614720).

As part of the Flagstaff Urban Interface Mountainaire 3E project, Coconino NF crews plan to burn 348 acres on April 15 and will continue with the rest of the 2400-acre project on April 18. Burns will continue through April 22.

With predicted southwest winds, smoke will be visible from the Flagstaff area and along Lake Mary Road. The east side of Flagstaff – the neighborhoods of Smoke Rise, Continental, and Country Club – will likely experience light to moderate smoke impacts.

Trail access will be restricted through the area during burn implementation, and Lake Mary Road may experience speed reductions and lane restrictions during the week of April 18.

The Mountainaire 3E project is located within the Four Forest Restoration Initiative footprint.

By planning this project now, crews can take advantage of cooler temperatures in the forecast. In addition, the burn units are bordered by roads and control features, as well as lands that have been previously treated with fire. Ignitions are scheduled to begin early in the day to allow most of the smoke to disperse before nightfall. Light winds will carry smoke to the northeast away from town during the day, and the continued breezes overnight will help keep residual smoke from settling around the community.

Prescribed fires like the Mountainaire 3E project are part of the Forest Service’s comprehensive 10-year strategy for protecting communities and improving resilience in America’s forests. The intent of the Wildfire Management Strategy is to increase fuels treatments that help firefighters respond safely to incidents, restore and maintain resilient landscapes, and create fire-adapted communities. The plan calls for treating up to an additional 20 million acres of National Forest System lands, and up to an additional 30 million acres of other federal, state, tribal and private lands.

Prescribed burns are always dependent upon 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.”

For more information on why prescribed burns are conducted and how they benefit the landscape and help protect communities, please visit our Prescribed Fire and Forest Health web page.

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