Forest Crews Begin the Prescribed Fire Season in Northern Arizona
Managers on northern Arizona’s forests are gearing up for an active prescribed-burn season this fall. As Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius reports, conditions are favorable for a variety of fire-mitigation projects.
Crews are taking advantage of calm winds and high humidity to rid local forest land of fuels that could contribute to catastrophic wildfires. According to officials, many prescribed-burn projects have already begun on the Coconino, Prescott and Kaibab national forests as well as the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.
Don Muise is the fire and aviation staff officer for the Coconino National Forest.
“If we get good windows, you’re going to see smoke in the air again, ‘cause we’re going to go out and do prescribed burns on those areas that we’ve determined that we could get good results, and so we’ll start putting fire on the ground under our prescriptions. And that’ll carry us through most of November,” Muise says.
On the Coconino alone, crews could burn more than 17,000 acres this fall. Muise says conducting prescribed burns now is a good way of alleviating the 2015 fire season.
“We come into every year not knowing whether we’re going to have a bad year or a good year. The best we can do is prepare the best we can,” Muise says.
The heaviest burn sites on the Coconino will be south of Lake Mary Road near Flagstaff, as well as Beaver Creek near Camp Verde. Crews with the Prescott National Forest will burn several hundred acres on the Bradshaw and Verde ranger districts next week.
If favorable conditions persist, managers will continue prescribed burns through the fall.