Coronado National Forest

A fuels reduction project in the Santa Rita Mountains will be conducted during the last two weeks of April.  The Nogales Ranger District, Coronado National Forest will implement prescribed burning on 250 acres in the vicinity of Gardner Canyon. The project area is approximately six miles northwest of Sonoita, Arizona along Santa Rita Road.

The Safford Ranger District of the Coronado National Forest expects to conduct the Fourmile Prescribed Fire as early as March 1, 2019. The project area consists of National Forest System lands in the northwest portion of the Galiuro Mountains in southeastern Arizona, and is included in the Forest’s Galiuro FireScape Project.

The project boundaries lie between Rattlesnake Creek on the east and the Forest Boundary on the west and contains portions of the Fourmile, Rattlesnake and Pipestem drainages, including both wilderness and non-wilderness lands in rugged terrain.

Fire crews will begin burning wood piles from forest thinning on Mt. Lemmon February 11 through 15, weather permitting.

Burning will occur along the Catalina Highway, and in Marshall Gulch, Sabino Work Center, Summerhaven and Whitetail Campground. Approximately 100 acres will be burned.

“This project is intended to reduce hazardous fuels adjacent to local communities,” said Santa Catalina District Ranger Charles Woodard. “It’s part of an ongoing fuels reduction project to reduce the threat of wildfire.”

Wintry conditions can bring unexpected surprises and potentially hazardous situations for unprepared visitors to Coronado National Forest.

It’s easy to plan for outings into snowy country, researching forecast weather and conditions on the ground, ensuring your vehicle is appropriate for road conditions, packing warm clothing and gear for your activities, and letting someone know of your plans. 

Across the Forest, rainy weather has caused stream levels to rise, catching recreationists off guard and leaving hikers in some areas stranded.

The Safford Ranger District of the Coronado National Forest plans to conduct wood pile burning activities on Mt. Graham in the Pinaleño Mountains over the next several weeks. Burning will be dependent upon weather conditions.

The project is intended to reduce excessive vegetation or “fuel” in and adjacent to the summer home area of Turkey Flat to create defensible space and restore a more fire resilient forest within the area.

Wood piles in the Noon Creek administrative site and Snow Flat areas may also be burned.

Coronado National Forest officials are expecting large numbers of visitors to the Forest’s most popular campgrounds and picnic areas over Labor Day weekend.  The Forest Supervisor’s Office and all Ranger District offices will be closed Monday, September 3 for the holiday.  The Sabino Canyon Visitor Center will remain open for business throughout the holiday weekend, including Monday.

The following are tips for safe and enjoyable weekend outings. 

An active monsoon season is in full swing across Coronado National Forest, bringing thunderstorms and with them the potential for lightning-ignited wildfires.

Precipitation may or may not accompany thunderstorms.  “Dry” lightning without wetting rain can ignite wildfires, as has recently occurred across the Coronado National Forest, particularly on the Safford Ranger District. Such ignitions are expected to continue until significant rainfall reaches all parts of the Forest. To report smoke or a wildfire please call the Tucson Interagency Dispatch Center at (520) 202-2710.

Visitors to Mt. Graham are advised to use extra caution due to monsoonal storms and increased potential for flooding.

Heavy rainfall may cause downstream flooding of streams, canyons, roads and trails during and after storms. On Mt. Graham, runoff and flooding may be accelerated from the burn scar of the 2017 Frye Fire, as vegetative cover has been lost and water, soil, rocks and woody debris may move swiftly downslope without warning.

As monsoon storms move into southeastern Arizona, lightning strikes present the potential to ignite wildfires. Precipitation may or may not accompany lightning during these early stages of “monsoon season.”

“Dry lightning” is typical on Coronado National Forest this time of year. Fire managers prepare for it, and firefighters are ready to respond to fires.

On July 8, thunderstorms with lightning moved across the Santa Catalina Mountains, causing three ignitions. Firefighters assisted by aircraft responded quickly to evaluate and act on each incident.

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