Coconino National Forest firefighters plan to conduct prescribed burns next week in areas that will lessen smoke impacts to surrounding communities.
These burns are among the prescribed burn projects planned for the Flagstaff Ranger District and the Mogollon Rim Ranger District this fall and are part of a strategy to allow fire across the landscape in order to restore forests to healthier conditions, protect watersheds and improve the safety of the communities around them.
Frequent, low-intensity fire removes accumulated smaller fuels and recycles nutrients in the soils to promote healthy vegetation and wildlife habitat. A healthier forest is a safer forest for firefighters and residents when wildfires inevitably occur.
The prescribed burn projects listed below are in chronological order and may occur on days other than noted, depending on favorable weather conditions. Firing ignitions for each of these projects begin at approximately 10 a.m. on the mornings indicated.
Experimental Forest (Ft. Valley 1 & 4)
When: Tuesday (Nov. 12).
Where: Approximately 8 miles northwest of Flagstaff, near the Fort Valley Trailhead. GPS: 35.270153, -111.677685
Size: 302 acres total, in two burn blocks.
Duration: 1-day operation.
Method/Type of burn: This is a broadcast maintenance burn using drip torches. The burn is an operation in partnership with the USFS Rocky Mountain Research Center, Northern Arizona University and the Ecological Research Institute to study the effects of consistent return intervals of low-intensity fire.
Smoke Impacts: With a westerly wind forecast, smoke should move northeast towards Schultz Pass. Cooling temperatures in the evenings will cause smoke to settle in the low-lying areas surrounding the burn, potentially impacting Doney Park, Baderville, Fort Valley, the U.S. Highway 180 corridor and Rio de Flag river drainage.
Closures/Restrictions: The Arizona National Scenic Trail will be rerouted during the burn operations for visitor’s safety.
When: Tuesday-Thursday (Nov. 12-14).
Where: Approximately 6.5 miles southeast of the Mogollon Rim Ranger District office, west of Leonard Canyon. GPS: 34.540829, -111.104980
Size: 2,900 acres total. Daily acreage varies upon the conditions. Day 1 is planned for 600 acres.
Duration: This is a four-day burn operation.
Type of Burn: This is a broadcast maintenance burn using drip torches. This burn operation will reduce the chance of catastrophic wildfire, protect private property, benefit wildlife habitat and improve forest health.
Smoke Impacts: Daytime winds are forecast from the southwest. Smoke should lift and disperse toward the northeast of the project area during the day. Overnight smoke could settle in the local burn area, Blue Ridge communities, and will probably drain down East Clear Creek. Smoke may end up in the eastern side of the Verde Valley until daytime temperatures rise enough to lift the smoke into the transport winds.
Closures/Restrictions: None expected.
Additional Information: Each day the burn block will be ignited independently after the project's burn prescription and smoke impacts are evaluated.
Maxwell Springs 1 & 2
When: Wednesday (Nov. 13).
Where: Five miles northwest of Flagstaff.
GPS: 35.250812, -111.824213 & 35.263236, -111.806195
Size: 833 acres total in two burn blocks.
Duration: One-day operation.
Method/Type of Burn: Broadcast maintenance burn conducted by drip torch. These burns are located south of Wing Mountain and north of Bellemont.
Smoke Impacts: Ventilation is predicted to move smoke toward the northeast. Cooling temperatures in the evenings will cause smoke to settle in the low-lying areas surrounding the burn, Interstate 40 and the west side of Flagstaff. This will likely impact Fort Valley, Snowbowl Ski Resort area and possibly U.S. Highway 180.
Closures/Restrictions: None expected.
Notifications of upcoming prescribed burns are provided regularly by news releases throughout the season. Timely updates about ignitions and whether or not a project is cancelled can be found on the Forest's social media sites:
Coconino NF’s Twitter account
Coconino NF’s Facebook page