The Safford Ranger District of the Coronado National Forest expects to begin the Paddy’s River Prescribed Fire as early as mid- December, 2016. The project area consists of National Forest System lands in the southern portion of the Galiuro Mountains in southeastern Arizona, and is included in the Coronado’s Galiuro FireScape Project.
The project boundaries lie between High Creek on the south and Deer Creek on the north and contains the Paddy’s River drainage, Black Canyon, Wood Canyon, and High Creek including both wilderness and non-wilderness land in rugged terrain.
Approximately 15, 000 acres are planned for the burn, which will be implemented in stages. Burning may continue through July, 2017, with ignitions occurring as fuel and weather conditions become suitable.
Fire has played an important ecological role in the history of the grassland and woodland ecosystems of southeastern Arizona. Regular intervals of naturally-occurring fire restricted the growth of shrubs in grasslands, thinned forests of fire-intolerant trees, increased stream flows, and renewed wildlife habitat. A decrease in the frequency of natural fire has resulted in areas of dense, overgrown vegetation and the accumulation of fuel available for wildfires.
The project is designed to reduce the accumulation of hazardous fuels, improve range and watershed conditions, improve wildlife habitat, return the ecosystem to a more fire-resilient state, and reduce the likelihood of future high-intensity wildfires within the project area. By reducing the probability of extreme fire behavior in future wildland fires, the intent is to subsequently reduce the threats to firefighter and public safety as well as reduce costs and resource damage due to fires.
Smoke will be visible periodically from Sulphur Springs Valley and Bonita, Willcox, Benson, San Manuel, Klondyke and the surrounding areas for the duration of the project. Temporary road and trail closures will go into effect as prescribed fire activities progress. Closure orders will be posted as appropriate.
For further information please contact the Safford Ranger District Office at (928) 428-4150 between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. The office is closed weekends and federal holidays.