Kaibab National Forest to offer Tusayan Ranger District fuelwood permits in Tuba City and Cameron

TUSAYAN – The Kaibab National Forest will issue free-use, paid personal-use and ceremonial fuelwood permits for the Tusayan Ranger District at the following events in Tuba City and Cameron:

September 29, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. DST – Tuba City Flea Market
October 13, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. MST – Cameron Community Celebration

A permit must be acquired by anyone harvesting any fuelwood on the Kaibab National Forest, except for the rather small amounts used in a campfire and gathered at the campfire site. The 2017 firewood cutting season runs from May 1 to December 31 for the Williams and Tusayan Ranger Districts and from May 1 to November 30 for the North Kaibab Ranger District.

The minimum cost for a personal use fuelwood permit is $20, which is good for four cords of wood. A maximum of six cords of wood is available for $30. For free-use permits, a maximum of four cords is available. These cord limits are per household, not individual. For ceremonial fuelwood permits, however, two cords are available per individual.

Besides the September 29 and October 13 Tuba City and Cameron events, fuelwood permits are also regularly available at the following Kaibab National Forest locations:

Williams Ranger District – 742 S. Clover Road, Williams; (928) 635-5600
Tusayan Ranger District – 176 Lincoln Log Loop, Grand Canyon; (928) 638-2443
North Kaibab Ranger District – 430 S. Main St., Fredonia; (928) 643-7395

All permits issued will include a map and detailed cutting regulations as well as load tags, which must be physically attached to each ¼ cord of firewood and visible from the rear of the vehicle. The goal of this load tagging system is to ensure accountability for the amount of wood removed from the forest. The removal of fuelwood is permitted only from National Forest lands on the district for which the permit is issued. Fuelwood cutters are reminded to take note of property boundaries and cut only on National Forest lands. Fuelwood cutters should be aware that chainsaws can throw sparks and ignite grasses and brush. Always carry a shovel and a fire extinguisher or water in case of a fire start. Additionally, all chainsaws must be equipped with a stainless steel spark arrestor screen. Detailed firewood cutting information and maps for each ranger district are available on the Kaibab National Forest website at www.fs.usda.gov/goto/kaibab/fuelwood.

Sheriff seeks information on missing person

Missing Person Travis Butler – 37 years old, 5’8″, 145 lbs, green eyes, brown hair. Travis failed to check out of a hotel outside of the Grand Canyon National Park on August 1, 2017. Vehicle associated with him may be a blue 2017 Nissan Maxima with Ohio license plate FUM5324. If you have any information, please contact the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office at 1-800-338-7888 or Silent Witness 928-774-6111.

Please note that the photo is quite old compared to his current age. Anyone with more recent photos is also encouraged to contact us.

Crews make significant progress in suppressing wildfire near Tusayan

Crews made significant progress last night in suppressing the 151-acre Rain Fire located about 5 miles southwest of the Town of Tusayan on the Kaibab National Forest.

Incident commander Quentin Johnson said the wildfire, which is burning in pinyon-juniper woodlands, is now 40 percent contained after retardant drops yesterday and the construction of hand and dozer line late into last night.

Resources assigned today include three 20-person hand crews, three engines, a dozer, a water tender and several individual fire personnel for a total of about 80 people. With winds predicted to be out of the west and gusts up to 30 mph in the forecast today, fire personnel will focus on enhancing established containment lines especially on the east flank to try to prevent the wildfire from spreading.

Smoke from the Rain Fire has diminished significantly since yesterday, but it may still be visible from Grand Canyon Airport, Grand Canyon National Park, Highway 64, and the Town of Tusayan. Grand Canyon National Park remains open.

No structures are threatened. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Kaibab National Forest and Grand Canyon National Park fire resources responding to wildfire near Tusayan

Kaibab National Forest and Grand Canyon National Park fire resources are responding to a wildfire located southwest of Grand Canyon Airport on the Tusayan Ranger District of the Kaibab National Forest. The Rain Fire is about 150 acres in size and is being suppressed by aerial and ground firefighting resources.

Resources responding include an air attack platform, one air tanker, two single engine air tankers, one helicopter, three engines, one dozer, and three 20-person hand crews.

The wildfire is burning in pinyon-juniper woodlands and is creating smoke visible from Grand Canyon National Park, Highway 64, and the Town of Tusayan.

No structures are threatened. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Grand Canyon National Park remains open.

Kaibab National Forest fuelwood permit holders advised to not cut live oak

TUSAYAN – The Kaibab National Forest advises fuelwood harvesters with cutting permits for the 2017 firewood season to ensure they don’t accidentally cut live oak.

Some areas of the Kaibab National Forest, especially on the Tusayan Ranger District, experienced a late-season freeze that may have killed some leaves on oak trees. The trees may look dead, but they are not. Fuelwood permits are valid only for oak trees that are dead and down or standing dead but are not valid for live oak.

Josh Giles, silviculturist for the Williams and Tusayan ranger districts, urges fuelwood permit holders to “be vigilant in ensuring that oak trees are actually dead when harvesting them for firewood.”

The Kaibab National Forest advises the following to test and ensure oak trees are dead prior to cutting:

  • Check to see if you can bend the limbs without them breaking. Be sure to check several limbs of varying sizes. If the limbs are pliable, then the tree is still green and should not be harvested.
  • Scratch the surface of the oak tree with a knife or similar object. If you can see green just under the bark surface, then the tree is still alive and should not be harvested.

Giles adds that, although “the late freeze may look like it had a drastic effect on the oaks, they will bounce back in a very short time.”

Firewood cutting permits can be purchased at the following locations and during the specified hours Monday through Friday, excluding federal holidays:

  • Williams Ranger District, 742 S. Clover Road, Williams; 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.; (928) 635-5600
  • Tusayan Ranger District, 176 Lincoln Log Loop, Tusayan; 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; (928) 638-2443
  • North Kaibab Ranger District, 430 S. Main St., Fredonia; 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; (928) 643-7395

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

Maintenance work begins on Forest Road 302 on Tusayan Ranger District

TUSAYAN –A contractor working for the Kaibab National Forest began a road maintenance project this week on Forest Road 302 on the Tusayan Ranger District in order to ensure the popular route continues to meet Forest Service road standards.

The contractor is using heavy equipment to haul gravel from Dillman Pit, located about 9 miles southeast of the project location, to FR 302 where it is then being spread across the roadway to improve surface conditions. The section of FR 302 receiving this maintenance work begins at the intersection of Highway 64 south of Tusayan and continues about 5.4 miles to the intersection of FR 688.Forest Service road engineers expect the road maintenance work to continue for about five weeks and likely be complete by the end of May. While the road will not be closed during the project, motorists can expect delays and should exercise caution while traveling through the area due to varying road conditions and the presence of heavy equipment.

FR 302 is used frequently by Kaibab National Forest visitors to access camping, hunting and other recreational opportunities. Forest managers recommend using FR 688 as an alternate route during the duration of the FR 302 maintenance project in order to bypass delays and dusty conditions. Forest visitors seeking a spot for dispersed camping are also encouraged to consider other routes on the Tusayan Ranger District given the likelihood of dust and noise near the project area.

Forest Service engineers regularly evaluate and monitor road conditions across the forest to determine priorities for work. FR 302 has been in need of maintenance for some time, and forest managers expect visitors to have an improved experience once the current project is complete.

To contact the Tusayan Ranger District office, call (928) 638-2443. Additional Kaibab National Forest is available through the following sources:

  • Facebook: www.facebook.com/KaibabNF/
  • Twitter: www.twitter.com/kaibabnf (Text ‘follow kaibabnf’ to 40404 to receive text messages.)
  • Kaibab website “News & Events”: www.fs.usda.gov/kaibab

Prescribed burn planned to begin Wednesday south of Tusayan

TUSAYAN – Crews plan to begin ignitions on a prescribed burn on the 681 acre Reed Prescribed Fire Project on Wednesday April 19 and intend to continue burning for approximately three days in the area if conditions remain favorable. The burn area is located approximately three miles south of the town of Tusayan.

Smoke may be visible from Highway 64 and in the communities of Valle and Tusayan. Light smoke may linger overnight and in the early morning hours. To minimize smoke impacts, fire managers will limit ignitions to approximately 200 acres per day and will only conduct ignitions when conditions exist that will allow smoke to ventilate away from sensitive areas.

“Because this prescribed fire will be burning immediately adjacent to Highway 64, we suggest that motorists slow down when driving through the area and use extreme caution due to firefighters working along the roadway and potential impacts to visibility.” said Fire Management Officer Quentin Johnson.

Smoke is expected to disperse to the east and northeast during the day. Residual smoke may settle into drainages and low lying areas overnight but will dissipate rapidly throughout the morning hours.

Prescribed fires are essential tools for restoring the forests in a fire-adapted ecosystem, and smoke is an unavoidable byproduct of these efforts. Fire managers strive to minimize smoke impacts to the community as much as possible. Burns occur when winds and other atmospheric conditions will push the majority of smoke away from homes and ultimately limit the number of days smoke is in the air. 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.

 

New Motor Vehicle Use Maps available for Williams and Tusayan districts

WILLIAMS/TUSAYAN – New Motor Vehicle Use Maps are now available for the Williams and Tusayan ranger districts of the Kaibab National Forest. The maps, which show what roads are open to motor vehicle travel, are the result of years of monitoring public feedback following implementation of the Travel Management Rule on the forest.

The maps, which are available for free at any Kaibab National Forest office, implement the decisions of the South Zone Travel Management Revision Project, signed in December by Williams and Tusayan Districts Ranger Danelle D. Harrison. The biggest change stemming from that project and reflected on the new Motor Vehicle Use Maps is the authorization of motorized dispersed camping along 276 miles of designated National Forest System roads.

Motorized dispersed camping is now authorized for 100 feet from the centerline of designated roads. Motorized dispersed camping is allowed only for ingress and egress following the most direct route from and to a designated road and for parking a recreational vehicle. In years to come, motorized dispersed camping will be authorized for 300 feet from the centerline of these designated roads. However, additional natural and cultural resource surveys will be undertaken over the next three years before the motorized dispersed camping distance is extended from 100 to 300 feet. This is to ensure forest managers can identify forest resources that may require further protection within that zone.

Prior to this new travel management decision, motorized dispersed camping was restricted to within 30 feet of forest roads open to motor vehicle use. That eliminated access for motor vehicles to many historically used and already impacted dispersed camping sites. It also created safety hazards by restricting motorized dispersed camping to within close proximity of traffic on roadways, and it negatively affected people’s camping experience by exposing them to dust, exhaust and noise. Finally, it exposed previously undisturbed portions of the Kaibab National Forest to the effects of dispersed camping-related motor vehicle traffic because people couldn’t access many historically used sites and instead starting creating new motorized dispersed camping sites in order to comply with the 30-foot regulations.

“Something needed to change,” Harrison said. “The South Zone Travel Management Revision Project was directly responsive to the hundreds to thousands of comments we received from our local community members and other forest users. We heard over and over again that our visitors were dissatisfied with their recreation experiences. It was incumbent upon us to find a better way to protect forest resources while also providing a quality motorized dispersed camping experience. We believe we’ve found that balance.”

Also as part of the new travel management decision, the following changes are being implemented:

· 14 spur roads designated for motor vehicle use have been added in the Tusayan Ranger District. These designated spur roads total approximately 1.1 miles and provide access to sites historically used for motorized dispersed camping.

· About 9 miles of National Forest System roads have been closed to motor vehicle use in the Williams and Tusayan districts to mitigate resource impacts caused by motor vehicle use on these roads.

· Approximately 24 miles of National Forest System roads have been added to the road system open to motor vehicle use in the Williams and Tusayan districts. This includes 17 miles of roads that were previously closed to motor vehicle use, 4 miles of user-created routes that were found to have no resource concerns but that provided important access to portions of the Williams Ranger District, and 3 miles of roads in the Tusayan Ranger District needed to provide access to water tanks.

· An adaptive management strategy has been established that will allow for future, limited changes to the South Zone road system.

Motorized big game retrieval was not addressed in the new travel management decision, which means the rules governing it have not changed. Within 1 mile of all open roads, except where explicitly prohibited, hunters can drive off the road to retrieve a legally killed elk using the most direct and least ground-disturbing route in and out (one trip in, one trip out) during all elk hunting seasons as designated by the Arizona Game and Fish Department, and for 24 hours following the end of each season.

“We made a commitment to the public to be responsive to the feedback we received and to refine our transportation system over time,” Harrison said. “We took our monitoring role seriously, and we have worked hard to make changes that we believe our local community members and other forest users will be pleased to see implemented. And, we plan to continue monitoring and improving over time by being open to what our communities and visitors are telling us.”

The Kaibab National Forest undertook the South Zone Travel Management Revision Project with the goal of improving implementation of the Travel Management Rule within the Williams and Tusayan ranger districts. The need for this effort was revealed through public and internal feedback received by the Kaibab National Forest over the years since the original travel management decisions were implemented. The Arizona Game and Fish Department has been an exceptional partner to the Forest Service during this effort by providing critical data and by advocating for improved consistency among Arizona’s National Forests to assist visitors in understanding motor vehicle travel regulations.

Besides hard copy Motor Vehicle Use Maps being available for free at Kaibab National Forest offices, there are several other motorized travel aid options that can be accessed on the “Motor Vehicle Use Maps & Motorized Travel Aids” page on the Kaibab National Forest website.

To provide feedback on the implementation of the Travel Management Rule on the Kaibab National Forest and associated Motor Vehicle Use Maps, visit the Travel Management Feedback Implementation Comment Form online.

2016 Unofficial Coconino County results

FLAGSTAFF — With all precincts reported as of about 10:30 p.m. last night, it appears that there were a few upsets in Coconino County.

It is not surprising that Coconino went for the Clinton-Kaine and Ann Kirkpatrick tickets, but it was not enough to carry a victory in Arizona. Democrat Tom O’Halleran won the Congressional District 1 seat vacated by Ann Kirkpatrick with a margin of 60.07% to Paul Babeu’s 33.19%.

Nikki Check Bagley unseated Republican Sylvia Tenney Allen 59.68% to 40.15%. It appears that Democrat Alex Martinez will take the representative seat for District 6 from Brenda Barton. Martinez took 41.09% of the vote, Bob Thorpe took 30.18% and Brenda Barton finished with 28.26%.

Democrats won across the Board of Supervisors with only one apparent Republican win in District 4. Jim Parks beat Janis Crossman with a slim margin of 50.10% to 49.75%. Matt Ryan defeated Republican challenger Christine Gannon by about a 5% margin. Democrat Jim Driscoll won the race for Sheriff of Coconino county beating Independent challenger Danny Thomas 67.58% to 32.13% of the vote.

In Flagstaff, Coral J. Evans beat Republican Jerry Nabours by about 14% of the vote. The results for Flagstaff council member candidates in order of number of votes were Jamie Whelan, Jim McCarthy, Charlie Odegaard, Adam Shimoni, Karla Brewster and Jeff Orvits.

In Williams, George Otero was defeated in a runoff for a council seat by Dawn Trapp 51.29% to 46.77%. In the Town of Tusayan, the council member race in order of votes was Al Montoya, Rebecca Wirth, Robert Gossard with Anavon Harris and David Chavez in a tie with 14.78%.

Proposition 205 to make marijuana legal passed in Coconino county, but was defeated State-wide. 206 passed in both County and State. Propositions 408 through 414 passed with the exception of 410 to raise taxes for Coconino Community College.