Several prescribed burns are scheduled this week across the forest in areas north and south of Flagstaff that will produce smoke visible to visitors in the area and motorists traveling Interstate 17 near the Stoneman Lake exit.
These burns are conducted to aid forest restoration and maintain areas to keep forest fuels from accumulating, which help mitigate extreme wildfire behavior. In turn, these burns ultimately help keep communities safer and can help firefighters suppress wildfires in the area by keep extreme wildfire behavior from occurring.
Fire managers with the Flagstaff Ranger District plan to complete the last block of the Horseshoe-Wild Bill project today, which is 14 miles northwest of Flagstaff along U.S. Highway 180 and is comprised of about 550 acres. A closure of the Lava River Cave and local restrictions to Forest Road 245 are anticipated. Winds are predicted to push smoke toward the northeast, which could impact Highway 180 near the burn. This is a one-day operation and should conclude this evening.
Also, later today, fire managers with the Mogollon Rim Ranger District will conduct the Upper Beaver Creek project located approximately 2 miles east of Stoneman Lake, comprised of 600 acres. Smoke may impact immediate areas around Stoneman Lake Road and Lake Mary Road. During evening hours, the smoke will likely settle and drain down Beaver Creek and Jacks Canyon overnight.
On Tuesday through Wednesday, fire managers will conduct the 2-day Mint East project about 2 miles south of Mormon Lake on the east side of Lake Mary Road, comprised of 1,200 acres. Ignitions are planned to conclude Wednesday. Smoke may impact the community of Mormon Lake during the evening hours as smoke from the burn settles and drains. Winds should move the smoke toward the south and may impact areas of Lake Mary Road for the duration of this project.
Prescribed burns are always dependent upon weather and wind conditions, as well as approval from Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ). The public can view approved prescribed burns on ADEQ’s website at smoke.azdeq.gov. Coconino National Forest burns begin with the designator “COF.”
For more information on why prescribed burns are conducted and how they benefit the landscape and help protect communities, please visit our Prescribed Fire and Forest Health web page.
Notifications of upcoming prescribed burns are provided regularly by news releases throughout the season and by the following online resources: