Prescribed fire projects continue this week in Coconino National Forest

Prescribed fire continues in Coconino Forest this week. (Photo/USFS)

Prescribed fire continues in Coconino Forest this week. (Photo/USFS)

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – Prescribed fire projects continue on all three districts of the Coconino National Forest this week.

On the Red Rock Ranger District, the Upper Beaver Creek Project began Oct. 15 and will continue intermittently through Oct. 25. The project is located near Stoneman Lake. The project is reducing hazardous fuels around the Stoneman Lake community, which will protect the Apache Maid Cabin. It will be roughly 1,000 acres.

Firefighters will use a combination of initial entry and broadcast maintenance. Maintenance burns usually mean wildfire has recently been through the area, which tends to mean less smoke since forest fuels will not be as thick or built up over time. Initial entry burns mean wildfire has not been through the area in a very long time and thus results in thicker smoke due to a large amount of forest fuels being present that must be burned. The fire is a multi-day project spread out over 10 days. Ignition could occur on any day if weather conditions allow. Light to moderate smoke impacts will continue. Smoke will continue to impact the Stoneman Lake communities, the Interstate 17 corridor at Forest Road 215 (Stoneman Lake Road and Rattlesnake Canyon), the Beaver Creek area and areas south of Mormon Lake Village.

On the Flagstaff Ranger District, the Horseshoe Project (Wild Bill units) began Oct. 16 and will continue through Oct. 19. It is located 8.5 miles north of Bellemont. The project is designed to reduce fuel loading in the project area. By returning fire to a fire-adapted ecosystem in regular intervals, the area will build a healthier and more resilient landscape. The estimated size is 6,080 acres over 4 days. Daytime smoke impacts will be felt along Highway 180 around the Arizona Nordic Village and Kendrick Park. Nighttime impacts will be felt in Bellemon, Parks and along Interstate 40. A temporary closure to Lava River Cave will be implemented during a portion of the burn.

The Newman Project will begin Oct. 20 between Upper Lake Mary and Mormon Lake, south of Pine Grove campground. The fire is expected to consume surface fuels less than 3 inches in diameter and will raise tree canopy heights and reduce tree density to reduce the likelihood of crown fire occurring in the project area. This treatment will moderate the effects of any potential future fire in the area. The estimated size is 1,100 acres and will occur over one day. Smoke will remain highly visible along Lake Mary Road (Forest Highway 3) and from the Lake Mary area. A portion of the Arizona Trail will be rerouted during the day of the project.

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