WILLIAMS — Fire managers with the Williams Ranger District of the Kaibab National Forest plan to continue prescribed fire operations, known as the Green Base Prescribed Fire Project, in the Pitman Valley area north of Interstate 40, east of Highway 64 and west of Parks over the next week as weather conditions allow.
Today, fire managers are completing ignitions in the 5,141-acre Parks West area, part of the larger Green Base Prescribed Fire Project, which is bounded on the west by Forest Road 74, on the north by Pipeline Road, on the east by Forest Road 76 and on the south by Historic Route 66.
Fire managers then anticipate a two-day delay in prescribed fire operations tomorrow and Thursday due to predicted winds that aren’t expected to be favorable for fire effects and potential smoke impacts.
As soon as wind and weather conditions are again favorable, fire managers plan to move to the 9,040-acre Dry Lake area, the second portion of the larger Green Base Prescribed Fire Project, to begin operations. They anticipate starting ignitions Friday, if not sooner, and continuing for several days. The Dry Lake area is bounded on the west by Highway 64, on the north by Pipeline Road, on the east by Forest Road 74, and on the south by Historic Route 66, which parallels Interstate 40 in spots.
Smoke from the prescribed fire projects near Pitman Valley is expected to be very visible from Interstate 40, Highway 64, Red Lake, Spring Valley and the Kendrick Mountain area. Kaibab National Forest fire managers are coordinating with adjacent forest managers regarding potential smoke impacts to local communities due to multiple prescribed fire projects being planned over the next week.
Last week, fire managers completed treatment of the McCracken Project, located about 6 miles south of Williams between Coleman Lake and Barney Knoll. No additional ignitions are immediately planned in this area.
Kaibab National Forest fire managers have a number of other prescribed fires planned for fall and winter on each of its three ranger districts depending on fuel moistures and weather conditions. Public notification will be provided prior to the implementation of additional projects.
Fire plays a beneficial role in maintaining the ecological stability of many landscapes, including the Kaibab National Forest. Managers use prescribed fire as a practical means to reduce risks associated with uncharacteristic wildfires that can pose significant threats to public health and safety.
Forest managers recognize that prescribed fires may create negative impacts to air quality at times. However, these efforts, which are essential to restoring forests in a fire-adapted ecosystem, can also significantly reduce the amount and limit the duration of smoke impacts associated with uncontrolled wildfire situations in the future. In order to minimize smoke impacts to businesses and residences during prescribed fires, managers closely monitor wind direction and ventilation and adjust operations accordingly.
In the interest of safety, forest visitors are reminded to obey all traffic signs and use caution when traveling in the vicinity of prescribed fires as firefighters and fire-related traffic will be present.
All prescribed fires on the Kaibab National Forest are subject to approval by the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality. For additional information on the Smoke Management Division and to view prescribed burn authorizations for any given day, visit https://www.azdeq.gov/programs/air-quality-programs/smoke-management.
Additional fire information for the Kaibab National Forest can be obtained through the following sources: InciWeb http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/4112/#; Kaibab National Forest Fire Information Phone Line (928) 635-8311; Text Message – text ‘follow kaibabnf’ to 40404; Facebook and Twitter @KaibabNF.