North Kaibab Ranger District to host Holiday Open House

FREDONIA – The North Kaibab Ranger District will soon host a Holiday Open House at the Kaibab Plateau Visitor Center at Jacob Lake on Saturday, November 25, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

There will be holiday music, cider and treats available for all ages, ornament decorating activity for families, and of course tree permits for sale.

As a reminder, the Kaibab Plateau Visitor Center will be open for Christmas tree tag sales from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on November 18 to 19 and November 25 to 26.

Christmas tree tags may also be purchased at the district office in Fredonia from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, excluding holidays. In addition to the normal district office hours, Christmas tree tags may also be purchased from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on two Saturdays, November 25 and December 2. Please bring cash or check for North Kaibab Ranger District Christmas tree tag purchases.

For more information, call (928) 643-7395.

Fire Managers to Continue Hazardous Fuels Treatments at Moquitch

FREDONIA – U.S. Forest Service and National Park Service fire managers, working together as the North Zone Interagency Fire Management Program, plan to initiate the Moquitch-3 prescribed burn unit as early as Tuesday if weather, resources, and fuel moisture conditions remain favorable to assuring firefighter and visitor safety, while still achieving the desired objectives outlined during the planning process.

As anticipated conditions fall within prescriptive parameters over the weekend, firefighters will focus on treating approximately 2,000 acres on the east portion of the Moquitch-3 prescribed burn unit.

Additional details are as follows:

Fuels: The Moquitch 3 prescribed burn unit consists of vegetation that is predominantly ponderosa pine with scattered clumps of aspen and patches of New Mexico locust.

Location: The unit is located about 6 miles south of Jacob Lake.

Objectives: Reduce accumulations of hazardous fuels down to 5 tons-per-acre and stimulating aspen regeneration in areas where mature clones exist.

Smoke: Smoke impacts may include Jacob Lake, AZ Highway 67, AZ Highway 89A and forest roads directly along the burn unit boundary (see map for details).

Safety: During prescribed fires, motorists are cautioned that smoke may be present in short durations, which may impact roads and populated areas. Motorists are reminded to use caution, drive slowly, turn on headlights, and avoid stopping in areas where fire personnel is working.

As a reminder, all prescribed burning is subject to approval by the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality and appropriate weather conditions. For additional information on the Smoke Management Division of the ADEQ and to view prescribed burns authorized on any given day, please visit http://www.azdeq.gov/environ/air/smoke/index.html.

Fire information: Additional information is made available through the following resources: Inciweb at https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5632/; Kaibab National Forest Fire Information Phone Line (928) 635-8311; Text Message – text ‘follow kaibabnf’ to 40404; https://www.nps.gov/grca/learn/management/fire_info.htm.

Wildhorse Rx Complete

FREDONIA – – For Immediate Release. Ignition operations on the Wildhorse prescribed fire (Wildhorse Rx) were completed today. As a result, smoke from the prescribed burn is expected to result in more favorable smoke dispersion over the weekend. Fire managers estimate that approximately 2,813 acres of hazardous fuels have been treated since the project began this week on the North Kaibab Ranger District of the Kaibab National Forest.

Over the weekend, resources will remain onsite and continue to monitor and patrol the Wildhorse and Tipover East prescribed fire projects.

Fire managers anticipate smoke impacts to lessen over the communities in Marble Canyon and Page, AZ, and traffic directly adjacent to the Wildhorse Rx Unit. Motorists are asked to remain cautious when traveling in and around these prescribed burn units, Arizona Highways 89A and 67 as smoke may intermittently impact these areas. Visitors are reminded to use caution, drive slowly, turn on headlights, and avoid stopping in areas where fire personnel is working.

Tipover East Prescribed Fire Update

FREDONIA – Operations progressed well today as firefighters estimate treating nearly 1,000 acres on the Tipover East prescribed fire project located across the North Kaibab Ranger District on the Kaibab National Forest and the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park.

Ideal conditions allowed for larger scale ignition operations today, accelerating the operational tempo and resulting in two cycles of aerial ignitions along FR 270. Aerial firing operations are often preferred within rugged backcountry landscapes like the Tipover Unit because it lessens the need for ground firing within interior portions of the unit that potentially could pose more danger to firefighters.

Anticipated operations over the next operational period will be to continue aerial ignition operations and fortifying black lining along the unit boundary if conditions remain safe to do so.

Smoke: Smoke was much more visible today along AZ Highway 67 just south of Pleasant Valley. Fire managers anticipate smoke impacts to continue to intermittently impact motorists along portions of Highway 89A, Highway 67, Marble Canyon and other visitor areas to the north-northeast of the Tipover prescribed-burn unit.

Safety: During prescribed fires, motorists are cautioned that smoke may be present in short durations, which may impact roads and populated areas. Motorists are reminded to use caution, drive slowly, turn on headlights, and avoid stopping in areas where fire personnel are working.

As a reminder, all prescribed burning is subject to approval by the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality and appropriate weather conditions. For additional information on the Smoke Management Division of the ADEQ and to view prescribed burns authorized on any given day, please visit http://www.azdeq.gov/environ/air/smoke/index.html.

Fire information: Additional information is made available through the following resources: Inciweb at https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5632/; Kaibab National Forest Fire Information Phone Line (928) 635-8311; Text Message – text ‘follow kaibabnf’ to 40404; https://www.nps.gov/grca/learn/management/fire_info.htm.

North Zone fire managers announce plans for 2017-2018 prescribed fire season on Kaibab Plateau

FREDONIA – North Zone fire managers on the North Kaibab Ranger District of the Kaibab National Forest and the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park have announced locations where they plan to complete prescribed fire projects starting in October and continuing through the spring of 2018. Approximately 13,850 acres could be eligible for treatment across the plateau, but the implementation of each project will only occur when weather, fuel moisture, and smoke dispersal conditions are within the defined prescription parameters.

The role that prescribed fires play includes decreasing risks to life, resources, and property. Fire managers carefully plan prescribed fires, initiating them only under environmental conditions that are favorable to assure firefighter and visitor safety and to achieve the desired objectives, which include reducing accumulations of hazard fuels, maintaining the natural role of fire in a fire-adapted ecosystem, and protecting sensitive cultural and natural resources.

This season’s planned treatment areas are as follows:

Thompson Unit: The Thompson prescribed burn unit (Thompson Rx) consists of dense vegetation and heavy dead and down fuels that are predominantly composed of spruce, fir, and aspen. The ignition portion of the Thompson Unit is approximately 2,000 acres, and the project area is located both on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon and the North Kaibab Ranger District, on the east side of AZ Highway 67 and directly east of the North Rim entrance station. Objectives include reducing accumulations of hazardous fuels by 40 percent.

Smoke impacts may include Highway 67, the North Rim Entrance Station, DeMotte Park and portions of the Grand Canyon including the Nankoweep area and Kwagunt Valley area. Additional smoke impacts may occur in the Marble Canyon area and as far away as Page.

Moquitch 3 Unit: The Moquitch 3 prescribed burn unit (Moquitch 3 Rx) consists of vegetation that is predominantly ponderosa pine with scattered clumps of aspen and patches of New Mexico locust. The unit is approximately 3,500 acres and is located about 6 miles south of Jacob Lake. Objectives include reducing accumulations of hazardous fuels down to 5 tons-per-acre and stimulating aspen regeneration in areas where mature clones exist.

Smoke impacts may include Jacob Lake, AZ Highway 67 and AZ Highway 89A.

Tipover East Unit: The Tipover East prescribed burn unit (Tipover Rx) consists of vegetation that is predominantly first-entry mixed conifer, which in this case means the area has not seen fire disturbance in more than 100 years and therefore contains above-average fuel loads potentially posing a higher risk of a large-scale wildfire. Fire managers plan to treat approximately 2,500 acres for this season. The unit is located on a strip of forested land along the boundary of Grand Canyon National Park and the Kaibab National Forest west of Highway 67. Objectives include reducing accumulations of hazardous fuels and protecting sensitive cultural and natural resources.

Smoke impacts may include Highway 89A, Highway 67, Marble Canyon and other high-use visitor areas.

North Rim Slopes Unit: The North Rim Slopes prescribed burn unit (Slopes Rx) also consists of vegetation that is predominantly first-entry mixed conifer. Fire managers plan to treat approximately 2,500 acres for this season. The unit is located along the north boundary of Grand Canyon National Park, west of Highway 67. Objectives include reducing accumulations of hazardous fuels by 25 percent and returning fire to a fire-adapted ecosystem.

Smoke impacts may include Highway 67, the North Rim Entrance Station, DeMotte Park and portions of the Grand Canyon.

Wildhorse Unit: The Wildhorse prescribed burn unit (Wildhorse Rx) consists of vegetation that is predominantly Ponderosa pine, Pinion pine, Juniper and a few scattered clumps of Aspen. The unit is approximately 2,800 acres and is located near Jacob Lake. Objectives include reducing accumulations of hazardous fuels down to 5 tons-per-acre and protecting sensitive cultural and natural resources.

Smoke impacts may include Forest Service roads north of Jacob Lake, Highway 89A, Jacob Lake developed area and the LeFevre overlook.

High Severity Edge Unit: The High Severity Edge prescribed burn unit (High Severity Edge Rx) consists of vegetation that is predominantly ponderosa pine and mixed conifer. Fire managers plan to treat approximately 500 acres for this season, and the unit is located on the Walhalla Plateau, west and south of Cape Royal Road. Objectives include limiting high severity fire effects in forested areas adjacent to or near patches of past high-severity wildfires.

Smoke impacts may include Highway 67, the North Rim Entrance Station, DeMotte Park and portions of the Grand Canyon.

Bright Angel Unit: The Bright Angel prescribed burn unit (Bright Angel Rx) consists of vegetation that is predominantly ponderosa pine. Fire managers plan to treat approximately 50 acres this season, and objectives include reducing fuel accumulations, creating a defensible space around structures in the developed area on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon and protecting sensitive cultural and natural resources.

Smoke impacts may include portions of the Grand Canyon.

North Zone Pile Burns (Pile Rx): Fire managers will also spend time preparing to burn piles of woody debris as resources and weather conditions allow. These piles are typically composed of vegetative materials, commonly called slash, such as tops, limbs, branches, brush, and other recently cut miscellaneous materials resulting from forest management activities such as thinning, pruning, timber harvesting, and wildfire hazard mitigation. Upon arranging slash into compact, teepee-shapes and allowing the piles to dry, fire managers will burn the piles during safe burning conditions, generally after a snowfall or significant wetting-rain events.

During prescribed fires, motorists are cautioned that smoke may be present in short durations, which may impact roads and populated areas, and are reminded to use caution, drive slowly, turn on headlights, and avoid stopping in areas where fire personnel is working.

As a reminder, all prescribed burning is subject to approval by the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality and appropriate weather conditions. For additional information on the Smoke Management Division of the ADEQ and to view prescribed burns authorized on any given day, please visit http://www.azdeq.gov/environ/air/smoke/index.html.

Before any given prescribed fire operations begin, additional information will be released regarding location, timing and anticipated smoke impacts. Fire information is also available through the following resources: Inciweb at https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5632/; Kaibab National Forest Fire Information Phone Line (928) 635-8311; Text Message – text ‘follow kaibabnf’ to 40404; https://www.nps.gov/grca/learn/management/fire_info.htm.

North Kaibab Ranger District announces changes in winter hours, closures

FREDONIA – Forest staff would like to remind visitors of the following changes for the upcoming winter season.

DeMotte Campground: The last night to camp is Oct. 14. This campground is scheduled to close for the winter season on Oct. 15 at noon.

Jacob Lake & Group Site Campgrounds: The last night to camp at these campgrounds will be Oct. 18. Both campgrounds are scheduled to close for the winter season on Oct. 19 at noon.

Big Springs & Jumpup Cabin Rentals: The last night to camp at Big Springs or Jump Up cabins is Nov. 2, unless inclement weather forces an earlier closure.

Information regarding campsites reservations, cabin rentals, and cancellations may be found at https://www.recreation.gov/.

Kaibab Plateau Visitor Center: Beginning Oct. 21 through Nov. 26, the Kaibab Plateau Visitor Center at Jacob Lake will only be open on Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. During these hours, fuelwood permits will be available to purchase at the Visitor Center.

2017 Personal-Use Fuelwood Cutting Season: Permits are still available at the district office during regular business hours. As a reminder, all unused personal-use fuelwood cutting permits will not be valid after Nov. 30. Wood cutting permit sales will resume in May 2018 pending appropriate weather conditions. Additional information on fuelwood permits is available at https://go.usa.gov/xncXn.

Burglary Investigation Leads To Recovery Of Property

FREDONIA – On Sunday September 10th the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office received a report of a burglary and theft of a generator, tent and two large water containers from a residence in the White Sage area. White Sage is a residential community of about 50 residents in Coconino County approximately 13 miles south of the Town of Fredonia.

A Coconino County Sheriff’s Deputy and the Fredonia Town Marshal responded and conducted an investigation into the incident. The two officers discovered vehicle tracks on the victim’s property and indicators of removal of the property by vehicle. The officers followed the vehicle tracks to a neighboring property where they contacted a male and female. After receiving permission to search for the stolen property all the items were located and recovered. Criminal charges are pending upon the completion of the investigation.

Crews work to “confine, contain” Dog Fire

FREDONIA – Fire crews are currently tending to a new lightning-caused wildfire on the North Kaibab Ranger District of the Kaibab National Forest and are carefully considering a confine and contain management strategy versus direct suppression. This selective strategy minimizes risk and reduces exposure to firefighters. The Dog Fire was reported to fire officials on Friday and is located in some very rough and rugged terrain at approximately 8,200 feet in elevation both within and directly adjacent to Saddle Mountain Wilderness.

Name: Dog Fire
Date Reported: Friday, Aug. 18, 2017
Cause: Lightning
Location: The fire is approximately 4.5 miles northeast of the North Rim Country Store and approximately 18.5 miles south-southeast of Jacob Lake on the North Kaibab Ranger District of the Kaibab National Forest.
Expected Actions: The fire is in a confine and contain management strategy and is estimated at 15 acres.
Fuels: It is burning in mixed conifer fuel type and although the area did receive showers throughout the weekend, fire activity varied from low to moderate.
Resources: 1 Type-4 Incident Commander, 1 Type-3 helicopter, 2 Type-3 engines, 1 Type-6 engine and 2 hand crews
Weather Forecast: Fire activity may decrease today as another round of monsoonal showers and storms is forecasted to impact the area today. Storm activity is expected to decrease tomorrow with slightly drier conditions expected throughout the rest of the week.

Additional fire activity updates may be obtained through the following sources:
· Kaibab National Forest Website: www.fs.usda.gov/kaibab
· InciWeb: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5524/
· Kaibab National Forest Fire Information phone line: (928) 635-8311
· Text Message – text ‘follow kaibabnf’ to 40404
· Visit us on Facebook and Twitter @KaibabNF

Monsoons keep North Zone firefighters busy as lightning ignites multiple fires in Kaibab National Forest, Grand Canyon National Park

FREDONIA — For Immediate Release. Within the past week, North Zone fire personnel consisting of firefighters from the U.S. Forest Service and National Park Service have responded jointly to multiple lightning-caused wildfires located on both the North Rim of the Grand Canyon and adjacent North Kaibab Ranger District of the Kaibab National Forest.

Lightning-caused wildfires are a common occurrence during the monsoon season (typically late-June through late-July). Of the five fires sparked by monsoonal storms this week, two are being suppressed and three are being monitored.

Monitoring a wildfire is a fire management tactic used by fire managers when strategizing an incident response, and contributing factors that help steer this decision-making process are often incident specific. Location, available resources, predicted weather, topography, air quality and predicted fire behavior are all factors that contribute to fire management decisions.

“Each of these fires has received significant monsoonal moisture and are predicted to receive even more throughout the next week,” said North Zone Fire Management Officer Ed Hiatt. “This ebb and flow of monsoonal moisture allows us the necessary time to identify values at risk, assess potential planning area boundaries and gather other intelligence necessary to make sound tactical decisions so that we are ready to respond appropriately once fire activity dictates.”

Fires currently in monitor status are:

· The Haunted wildfire – burning in ponderosa pine fuel type located at the Outlet Peninsula on the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park. The fire is approximately 3 acres in size.
· The Pine Hollow wildfire – burning in ponderosa pine fuel type and debris left from the Pipeline Fire of 2009. The fire is west of Big Springs Field Station in the vicinity of Little Mountain and is approximately 5 acres in size.
· The Crescent wildfire is burning north of the historic Kanabownits Lookout Tower in ponderosa pine and mixed conifer fuel types and is approximately 3 acres in size.

Additional fire activity updates will be provided as new information becomes available, and may be obtained through the following sources:

· Kaibab National Forest Website: www.fs.usda.gov/kaibab
· Grand Canyon National Park: www.nps.gov/grca/learn/management/firemanagement.htm
· Kaibab National Forest Fire Information phone line: (928) 635-8311
· Text Message – text ‘follow kaibabnf’ to 40404
· Twitter: @KaibabNF
· Facebook: @KaibabNF

Tree specialists continue work to restore ponderosa pine on North Kaibab

FREDONIA – Employees on the North Kaibab Ranger District of the Kaibab National Forest have once again partnered with the National Forest Foundation (NFF) to plant seedlings in the Warm Fire 2017 planting project at East Lake.

This year’s Warm Fire planting project was completed in the spring with the help of a $54,000 grant from the NFF and the combined efforts of both the USDA Forest Service and Oregon-based contractor GE Forestry. Together, this on-the-ground effort yielded a total of 76,000 ponderosa pine seedlings planted in the 350-acre East Lake project area. It also increased the overall grand total for the Warm Fire reforestation to more than 1.8 million trees planted and certified across 6,100 acres of this multi-phased reforestation effort since planting efforts began in 2008.

This year’s planting project was led by North Kaibab Ranger District Assistant Silviculturist Joseph Varnado and District Silviculturist Garry Domis. This is the sixth such project in the Warm Fire area. All six projects were made possible through more than $440,000 in grants provided to the Kaibab National Forest from the National Forest Foundation, American Forest Foundation, Salt River Project Trees for Change program, and the National Bank of Arizona’s Sustainable Initiatives program.

“The key here is survival. We are planting tomorrow’s future forest,” said Varnado. “So when we’re out here, we are looking for the best possible sites to plant. Sites with the best moisture, with the best shade, and the best protection from the elements so we can enhance the survivability of our investment and protect our future forest.”

An important component crucial to that survivability began in 2009 when cones for the reforestation effort were collected from the North Kaibab and shipped to Lucky Peak Nursery near Boise, Idaho. Seeds are extracted and stored in the forest’s seed bank until needed for a planting project.

By planting seeds harvested from cones collected on the North Kaibab and stored at the nursery, foresters are able to “ensure proper provenance for planting,” said Domis, by planting native trees back into an area when the need arises. “In the forestry world we refer to this collection, storage and planting of seedlings in an area in which they originated as the conservation of genetics,” said North Kaibab District Ranger Randall Walker. “The long-term benefits help ensure provenance and avoid contamination of the genetic pool specific to a particular geographic location and elevational band. This multi-phased conservation effort is important to helping the area recover because it results in the best phenotypic characteristics that stand the best chance of survival.”

According to Walker, some preferred phenotypic traits may include trees with dark-colored green crowns which indicates the best chance to synthesize nutrients; trees with straight form which indicates the best chance to capture sunlight; trees with branch angles that can best adapt to snow loads at a higher elevation versus a lower elevation; or trees without forks, as forked trees are more susceptible to damage by winds at higher elevations.

Regardless of location or vegetation type, foresters can theoretically collect any type of native seed and send to the nursery for storage and future planting projects. Ordering a particular species is as simple as submitting a “sow and grow” request to the nursery.

For this year’s planting project, Domis submitted a request to Lucky Peak Nursery in November 2015. The seeds were then withdrawn from the forest’s seed bank and then sown and grown on site, a process that takes approximately 12 months before the seedlings are ready for selection and shipment to the forest.