North Zone fire managers plan to begin prescribed fire operations on Monday (Nov. 12, 2018) and continue through all of next week on up to 3,000 acres on the North Kaibab Ranger District of the Kaibab National Forest, depending on weather conditions, fuel moisture and smoke dispersal on any given day.
Specifically, fire managers plan to treat acres in the following four project locations through the week in order to improve forest health and reduce the risk of unnaturally severe wildfire:
- Jacob Ryan North, Cooper Unit: The Cooper prescribed burn unit, which is located just north of Jacob Lake, is about 910 acres in size and made up largely of ponderosa pine trees, pinyon-juniper woodlands, and some scattered aspen clumps.
- Jacob Ryan West, Admin Unit: The Admin prescribed burn unit, which is west of Jacob Lake, is about 240 acres in size and dominated by ponderosa pine, juniper and aspen.
- Jacob Ryan West, Lodge Unit: The Lodge prescribed burn unit, which covers about 400 acres, is west of Jacob Lake and also dominated by ponderosa pine, juniper and aspen.
- Moquitch 3 Unit: The Moquitch 3 prescribed burn unit covers about 1,440 acres of ponderosa pine with scattered clumps of aspen and patches of New Mexico locust. The area is 6 miles south of Jacob Lake.
Because of the proximity of the planned prescribed fires to local roadways and populated areas, fire managers look for specific weather, fuel and wind conditions under which to ignite within various project locations. Fire managers recognize the negative effects that smoke can have during and immediately after a prescribed fire and are constantly adjusting tactics to minimize impacts.
Despite mitigation efforts, smoke from these planned prescribed fires may still impact or be visible from highways 89A and 67 as well as the Jacob Lake area. During and for several days following ignition, motorists are cautioned that smoke may be present on roadways for short periods of time. Smoke may also pool in low-lying areas during overnight and early morning hours. Motorists are reminded to use caution, drive slowly, turn on headlights, and avoid stopping in areas where fire crews are working.
The Kaibab National Forest is part of a fire-adapted ecosystem and is dependent on fire to play a natural role in maintaining vibrant forest health. Objectives for these North Zone prescribed burns include maintaining the natural role of fire in a fire-adapted ecosystem, reducing hazardous fuels accumulations, creating defensible space around structures in developed areas, protecting sensitive cultural and natural resources, thinning dense stands of trees where appropriate, and stimulating aspen regeneration.
The public can view approved prescribed fires for any given day on the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality’s website at https://azdeq.gov/
Notifications of upcoming prescribed fire projects are provided regularly throughout the year. Additional information can also be obtained through the following sources: