Prescribed burns planned to begin this week near Tusayan

TUSAYAN – Crews plan to begin working on two prescribed burns near Tusayan beginning Tuesday and will likely continue burning for several days providing weather conditions remain favorable for meeting forest health objectives and smoke dispersion.

Ignitions will occur tomorrow on 250 acres of slash piles on the Flying J prescribed fire project located just west of Grand Canyon airport. On Wednesday operations will shift to the Reed prescribed fire project where fire officials hope to treat approximately 600 acres using a broadcast burn. This unit is located about 6 miles east of Tusayan.

The removal of cured slash piles is critical for reducing hazardous fuels that can often threaten rural communities, particularly when they are located adjacent to developed infrastructure and residential homes. Broadcast burning is utilized to introduce fire to ground surfaces over much wider areas which also consume accumulations of dead and down debris lessening the potential for a catastrophic wildfire.

Smoke is expected to disperse away from sensitive areas for both of these burns during the day. Residual smoke may settle into drainage and low lying areas overnight but will dissipate rapidly throughout the morning hours. Smoke may be visible from Highway 64 and from the communities of Grand Canyon, Valle and Tusayan. Light smoke may linger overnight and in the early morning hours.

Officials remind motorists to always use caution when driving on roadways where visibility may potentially be impacted by smoke. Fire managers work closely with the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality, partners in the Grand Canyon National Park, as well as surrounding Native American tribes to monitor air quality.

Notifications of upcoming prescribed burns are provided regularly throughout the season. The public can find this information online or through a recorded hotline. Contact your local Kaibab National Forest office for additional information.

• Inciweb: inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5160/
• Fire Information Recorded Hotline: 928-635-8311
• Facebook: www.facebook.com/KaibabNF/
• Twitter: twitter.com/kaibabnf (Text ‘follow kaibabnf’ to 40404 to receive text messages.)
• Kaibab website “News & Events”: www.fs.usda.gov/kaibab

Sunset Point rest area will be open, but without services, May 24

Restroom and vending services at the Sunset Point rest area on Interstate 17 will be closed on Wednesday, May 24, so Arizona Department of Transportation crews can make needed electrical upgrades.

The rest area, located about 50 miles north of Phoenix, will remain open for drivers who want to stretch their legs, check mobile devices or exercise their pets, but there will be no vending or restroom services from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Work is scheduled to continue on Thursday, May 25, but services are expected to be available. Drivers should watch for ADOT personnel and equipment.

Schedules are subject to change based on weather and other unforeseen factors. For more information, please call the ADOT Project Information Line at 855.712.8530 or email Projects@azdot.gov. For real-time highway conditions statewide, visit ADOT’s Traveler Information Site at www.az511.gov, follow ADOT on Twitter (@ArizonaDOT) or call 511, except while driving.

Overnight lane restrictions planned on Interstate 17 for guardrail repairs

Drivers who use Interstate 17 between Maricopa and Yavapai counties should plan for overnight and early morning lane restrictions through early Wednesday. Arizona Department of Transportation crews are scheduled to make guardrail repairs along I-17 near New River, Bumblebee and Crown King roads and State Route 169.

Slow down, watch for workers and equipment and be prepared to merge carefully into the open travel lane while the following restrictions are in place:

Northbound I-17 will be narrowed to one lane in New River from milepost 233 to milepost 234 from 7 to 11 p.m. Monday, May 22.

Northbound I-17 will be narrowed to one lane between mileposts 244 and 247 (near Bumblebee Road) from 11 p.m. Monday, May 22, to 2 a.m. Tuesday, May 23.

Southbound I-17 will be narrowed to one lane between mileposts 251 and 248 (near Crown King Road) from 2 to 5 a.m. Tuesday, May 23.

Southbound I-17 will be narrowed to one lane between milepost 278 and 276 (south of State Route 169) from 5 p.m. to midnight Tuesday, May 23.

Allow extra travel time on State Route 260 east of Cottonwood next week

Motorists traveling on State Route 260 should allow extra time while surface sealant is applied on two miles of the highway east of Cottonwood. Work will occur between mileposts 209 and 211 on Monday, May 22, and Tuesday, May 23, during daylight hours.

The roadway will be reduced to one lane with a pilot car guiding alternating traffic through the work zone. Drivers should plan for delays of up to 15 minutes; observe reduced speed limits; and watch for construction personnel and equipment in the work zone.

Lane closure on Interstate 17 south of Flagstaff on Monday

FLAGSTAFF – Interstate 17 south of Flagstaff will be narrowed to one lane from 6 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday, May 22, for paving. Work is scheduled to occur between mileposts 340 and 338.

Drivers should proceed through the work zone with caution, slow down and watch for construction personnel and equipment.

Life jacket exchanges tomorrow help kick off ‘Boating Safety Week’

PHOENIX — The Arizona Game and Fish Department and agencies across the U.S. and Canada will join forces to promote life jacket use and boating safety as part of National Safe Boating Week.

The annual event begins Saturday, May 20 and ends Friday, May 26. To help mark the occasion, the department’s Boating Safety Education program will hold Life Jacket Exchange events from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday at the 10-lane boat ramp at Lake Pleasant; Canyon Lake boat ramp; Saguaro Lake boat ramps; the London Bridge Beach at Lake Havasu City and Katherine’s Landing at Lake Mohave.

During the exchanges, people with old, worn and less-effective life jackets can swap them for a new life vest, while supplies last.

“Boating in Arizona can offer great experience for everyone on the water, but only if it is done safely and responsibly,” said Josh Hoffman, AZGFD Boating Safety Education coordinator. “While time on the water can be fun, it can quickly turn dangerous if you’re not prepared. National Safe Boating Week serves as a reminder to all boat and watercraft users to always wear their life jacket. It could very well save your life.”

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey also helped to kick off Safe Boating Week, by issuing a proclamation, encouraging the public to be safe while on the water.

“Year-round, people continue to enjoy all that our natural environment has to offer through the joy of boating. National Safe Boating Week is observed to call attention to important life-saving tips for recreational boaters so that they can have a safer, more fun experience out on the water,” the proclamation states.

National Safe Boating Week marks the launch of the 2017 North American Safe Boating Campaign. This yearlong campaign promotes safe and responsible boating and the value of voluntary, consistent life jacket wear by recreational boaters through the national theme, “Wear It!”

U.S. Coast Guard statistics show that drowning was the reported cause of death in three-fourths of recreational boating fatalities in 2015, and that 85 percent of those who drowned were not wearing life jackets.

“Each year hundreds of people lose their lives in boating incidences, and they might still be alive if they had been wearing a life jacket,” said Rachel Johnson, CAE, executive director of the National Safe Boating Council, the lead organization for the North American Safe Boating Campaign. “It’s not enough to just own a life jacket and store it on a boat, you must wear it,”

New life jackets are much more comfortable, lightweight and stylish than the bulky orange style most boaters know. There are innovative options, such as inflatable life jackets, allowing mobility and flexibility for activities like boating, fishing, paddling or hunting and are much cooler in the warmer weather.

“Completing a boating safety course is also an important step to being a safe boater or watercraft user. Educated boaters are safe boaters,” Hoffman said. “Luckily the Arizona Game and Fish Department offers free boating safety courses.”

For more information on boating in Arizona or to sign up for a free safety course, visit www.azgfd.gov/boating. Those registering for an online safety course through BOATERExam.com can receive $10 off during Safe Boating Week by using the promo code NSBW17.

Great spring fishing in northern Arizona expected for Memorial Day weekend

WILLIAMS – Now is the time to get the tackle box ready, grab the fishing rods, and explore northern Arizona for some spring fishing.
Here are some updates on fish stocking activities in this region:
  • About 9,000 rainbow trout, or around 5,000 pounds, were recently stocked in Ashurst Lake. Folks fishing at Ashurst Lake started catching fish shortly after stocking.  They were using small spinners such as rooster tails and small spoons.
  • Kaibab Lake, north of Williams, will receive a similar load of fish. About 9,000 fish measuring up to 15 inches.
  • Trout stocked in Lower Lake Mary during March and April were up to 15 inches long.
  • Catfish were dropped recently into City Reservoir in Williams and Frances Short Pond in Flagstaff. Chunks of hot dogs make great catfish bait.
“We have so much water in northern Arizona this year, we are trying to get fish into as many lakes as we can,” said Chuck Benedict, a fish biologist at AZGFD. “We want to encourage people to come up Memorial Day weekend, enjoy our great weather and fish.  Typically Flagstaff and Williams are great for trout in the spring, and in reality, bass, pike, catfish, and crappie fishing are the best during the summer.”
Some tips to remember before heading out to fish:
  • Licenses now include trout and two-pole privileges (no separate stamps needed) and costs $37 for residents and $55 for nonresidents. The license is now valid for one year from the day you buy it — not just for the calendar year.
  • Anyone 10 years and older will need a fishing license. Youth licenses only cost $5 and are available for youth ages 10-17.
  • Review the 2017 Arizona Fishing Regulations — they are available online, or at most license dealers as a booklet that you can throw in your tackle box. The regulations have all the information you need to fish in Arizona.
  • Some lakes have special restrictions or regulations: catch-and-release only, daily limits, or the type of bait allowed.
  • Do not transport live fish or bait. Illegal stocking is a big problem and impacts the department’s efforts to manage the state’s fisheries. In some cases, fish like northern pike and bass have been illegally stocked and have had detrimental impacts to trout fishing and native fish populations.
Locations of these waters:
  • Frances Short Pond is located just northwest of downtown Flagstaff and is a great place to walk or ride a bike and try your luck.
  • Lower Lake Mary is about 8 miles from Flagstaff on Forest Road 3; Ashurst is about 12 miles down the road from Lower Mary.
  • Kaibab Lake is near Williams and off Highway 64, just north of Interstate 40.
  • City Reservoir is just south of Williams.

Run For The Wall dodges a snow

WILLIAMS – Run For The Wall left Williams this morning missing the experience of 2011. In 2011 they arrived in the snow. This year the snow did not start until about 7:30 p.m. after the Vietnam Veterans were long gone.

Snow started about 7:30 with a few flakes falling. It built up to a full-blown snow by 8 p.m. in Williams. It ran until 10. Reports of an inch of snow by 8 were reported outside Williams. An amateur radio operator reported zero visibility on Highway 64.

Tomorrow the sun is expected to shine and temperatures are expected to rise. Tomorrow the high is expected to be 59 rising to the 70s through next Thursday. The lows at night are predicted to be around 40-degrees.

Sun smiles on Run For The Wall

WILLIAMS – While the annual Run For The Wall was greeted with cold wind and rain last night, the sun shined on the group as they left this morning. Williams is the first stop on their annual trek to the Vietnam Memorial Wall. It seems as though Williams has thrown every weather condition imaginable at the group.

The American Legion hosted a dinner for their arrival and Wild West Junction provided a breakfast for their departure.

Mayor John Moore greets veterans of the 2017 Run For The Wall


The Run For The Wall was started years ago as a healing ride for Vietnam Veterans. In recent years they have welcomed veterans from other conflicts and even civilians who support their mission. That mission is to bring awareness to the POWs and MIAs who have not returned from the conflicts that the United States has been involved in.

We would like to remind motorists to watch for the road guards for the Run For The Wall. Their job is to make sure these heroes arrive safe in Washington. Please be patient and follow their instructions. They will not take a big bite out of your day.

AZGF stocks Buckskinner with catfish

WILLIAMS – Rose Newbold, Director of Recreation in Williams, witnessed the release of about a thousand pounds of catfish into the Buckskinner reservoir on a windy Wednesday. Arizona Game and Fish released a couple hundred catfish into the pond this afternoon.The steep drop in the road down to Buckskinner prevented the delivery truck from reaching the reservoir. So the Arizona Game and Fish personnel had to dump them into a regular truck and tote them down to Buckskinner for release.