Fire managers with the Coconino National Forest are utilizing a lightning-caused fire in the Dick Hart Ridge area southeast of Clints Well to benefit the landscape and maintain a healthy ecosystem by allowing fire to fulfill its natural role in the environment. 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.
The Pinchot Fire is located approximately eight and a half miles southeast of Clints Well and six miles southwest of C.C. Cragin (Blue Ridge) Reservoir. This low-intensity wildfire is being managed to achieve multiple benefits and objectives. It will increase in size as time goes on, however the maximum area planned for this fire is 5,000 acres. The area has not been treated in several decades, and has a sizeable amount of dead and down fuels that would contribute to the severity of a damaging high intensity wildfire in less favorable conditions. The area recently received a significant amount of monsoon moisture in late summer, creating excellent conditions for allowing the wildfire to burn at low intensity. The fire was started by lightning on August 29, 2016.
Firefighters will be conducting burn operations as needed to keep the wildfire inside the management boundary, creating noticeable smoke. In addition to local communities, there are several trails and other recreation sites in the area, most notably the Houston Brothers Trail just east of the fire. Fire managers will closely monitor smoke impacts to communities and forest visitors. Area closures and trails reroutes may be possible to protect the safety of hikers, bikers, and equestrians.
The Pinchot Fire is not a prescribed burn. This wildfire will be managed where needed and allowed to function as nature intended. This means it does not have a planned end date, but fire managers have carefully determined the perimeter within which the fire may run its natural course. Ultimately, fire will eventually treat portions, or all of, the land inside the perimeter, reducing severe wildfire risk and returning nutrients to the soil.
The objectives fire managers strive to achieve are:
- Ensure the safety of all incident personnel.
- Protect the public in the immediate fire area.
- Enhance or maintain a healthy ecosystem by reintroducing natural fire back into the forest.
- Address smoke management concerns and document occurrences of smoke impacts whenever possible and feasible.
- Maintain and develop partnerships and relationships with cooperators and stakeholders.
- Provide timely and accurate public information.
- Protect structural range improvements, identify fire sensitive cultural sites, survey in advance of any dozer line construction.
- Minimize the introduction and spread of non-native and invasive plant species.
- Enhance and protect critical wildlife habitat.
Information and details about the fires, including their objectives, will be updated on on this page. Updates on ongoing activities are provided via @CoconinoNF on Twitter. The public can report smoke impacts online. Visit Coconino National Forest for general information about the Forest.
Pinchot Fire Summary:
- Start Date: August 29, 2016.
- Cause: Lightning
- Location: 8.5 miles southeast of Clints Well, in the Dick Hart Ridge area
- Current Size: 4 acres
- Fuels: Ponderosa pine and mixed conifer forest. Heavy dead and down logs, pine needles, grass, and forest litter understory.
- Smoke: Minimal smoke impacts in the immediate area.
- Planned actions: Fire is being monitored by patrol unit.