Two lightning-caused fires being used to benefit landscape

May 19th, 2016 at 10:08 AM

Flagstaff, Ariz., May 19, 2016, For Immediate Release — Fire managers with the Coconino National Forest are utilizing two recent lightning-caused fires to benefit the landscape and maintain a healthy ecosystem by allowing fire to fulfill its natural role in the environment.

The Mormon and Cowboy fires are currently very small in size and smoldering in areas that are visible to the public, and will become even more noticeable as conditions dry out. The forest thrives on fires such as these that are low severity and creep across the forest floor. They reduce fuels and the risk of severe wildfire, create safer conditions for residents, the public and firefighters, and also restore wildlife habitat by stimulating understory vegetation growth.

lightning-fireThese multiple-objective fires will increase in size as time goes on, and firefighters will be conducting burnout operations to facilitate where and how the fires move through the landscape. Smoke will become more noticeable, but will still be much lighter than that of a severe wildfire. Fire managers will closely monitor smoke impacts to communities.

The Mormon and Cowboy fires are not prescribed burns. Though the resource benefits will be similar, these are wildfires that will be managed where needed and allowed to function as nature intended. This means they do not have planned end dates, but fire managers have carefully determined the perimeters within which the fires may run their natural course. Ultimately, fire will eventually treat portions, or all of, the land inside the perimeters.

Information and details about the fires, including their objectives, will be updated on Inciweb at http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/unit/303/.  Quick updates will also be provided via the Coconino NF Twitter site at www.twitter.com/coconinonf (@CoconinoNF), so please follow us if you would like to be updated as information is received. The public can report smoke impacts online at http://tinyurl.com/cof-smokerpt or get more information about the Forest at www.coconinonationalforest.us.

 

MORMON FIRE OVERVIEW

Start Date: May 14, 2016.

Cause: Lightning.

Location: Six miles east of Munds Park near Mormon Mountain.

Current Size: Seven acres.

Resources: Mormon Lake Hotshot crew, one Type 6 Engine; Approximately 26 personnel.

Fire Behavior: Smoldering and creeping, producing light smoke.

Smoke Impacts: None currently.

Closures: None currently.

Current Management Actions: In monitoring status until conditions become drier. Prep work for boundary and holding lines ongoing.

 

COWBOY FIRE OVERVIEW

Start Date: May 17, 2016.

Cause: Lightning.

Location: Eight miles south of Flagstaff, near milepost 331 on the immediate east side of Interstate 17.

Current Size: One acre.

Resources: Flagstaff Hotshot crew, one Type 3 Engine; Approximately 25 personnel.

Fire Behavior: Smoldering, with visible small flame lengths and creeping across the forest.

Smoke Impacts: Smoke is readily visible from I-17 since the fire is right next to the interstate. Light smoke could impact the community of Mountainaire and Kachina since they are north of the fire’s location. Motorists should be cautious while traveling along I-17 near the fire (about MP 331), as smoke could reduce visibility, and fire personnel will be working on and near the roads as management of the fire increases.

Closures: None currently.

Current Management Actions: In monitoring status until conditions become drier. Prep work for boundary and holding lines ongoing.

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