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Forest Thinning to start soon in Flagstaff

Flagstaff residents will soon begin seeing the results of a forest thinning project voters approved last November.

As Arizona Public Radio’s Terry Ward reports, the ten million dollar municipal bond will help reduce the threat of wildfire and flooding in the Rio de Flag and Lake Mary Watersheds…

Terry Ward: Work is expected to begin before year’s end in an area just north of downtown Flagstaff known as Dry Lake Hills. The thinning effort is aimed at reducing the risk of catastrophic wildfires and subsequent flooding similar to the 2010 Shultz Pass Fire that devastated Flagstaff homes. Brienne Magee is a spokesperson for the US Forest Service...

Brienne Magee: This is an ecosystem that relies on fire historically so one of the things we’ll be looking at is some prescribed burns…We’ll also see logging trucks come right through town here and there…

Ward: The Flagstaff Watershed Protection Project is also aimed at protecting Flagstaff’s water supply - 50% of which comes from Lake Mary. The municipal bond adds nearly 11 thousand acres to current thinning plans already underway on National Forest land in and around Flagstaff. The effort is the first in the nation to result from a direct citizen vote. It’s also the first to use taxpayer money on federal land with financing from a property tax on Flagstaff homeowners. Tax bills will remain the same since the new tax corresponds with the expiration of an earlier assessment. For Arizona Public Radio, I’m Terry Ward, in Flagstaff.