Snow Fall Allows for Continuation of Pile Burns on Kaibab National Forest

WILLIAMS – Recent snow storms have presented excellent conditions for crews to continue with fuels reduction efforts on both the Tusayan and Williams Ranger districts. Pile burns will carry on in various locations south of Williams and approximately 20 miles east of Tusayan near Russel Tank.

Operations could be extended well into next week with more snow being forecasted in the days ahead. Weather conditions are evaluated on a daily basis and burns only occur when conditions meet prescription parameters. Smoke dispersal is also a determining factor before decisions to ignite occur. Managers always strive to minimize impacts to rural developed areas.

One 46 acre unit adjacent to Buckskinner Park is scheduled for treatment and will be evaluated carefully due to its proximity to the City of Williams. This operation should be completed in one day. Smoke may be visible and light impacts may occur but are expected to be short in duration. Additional notifications will be made throughout the community prior to this area being treated.

Ignitions on approximately 96 acres of piles near Russel tank will commence the beginning of next week however no smoke impacts are anticipated due to the remote location east of Tusayan.All prescribed fires 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 www.azdeq.gov/programs/air-quality-programs/smoke-management

Notifications of upcoming prescribed fires are provided regularly throughout the year. This information can be found at the following sources:

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

With snow forecast, don’t get blindsided on highways

PHOENIX – With snow forecast Friday in Arizona’s high country, please don’t take lightly the power and unpredictability of a winter storm as well as the potential for it to leave you stranded on a highway.

Arizona Department of Transportation snowplows will be out in force, but driving conditions are hazardous during winter weather. A highway can close suddenly if enough snow falls in a brief period or if there are crashes, slide-offs or both. That happened during Monday’s snowstorm, when northbound I-17 climbing out of the Verde Valley closed for several hours due to a serious crash.

The safest decision when snow falls is delaying travel until the storm passes and highways have been cleared. In addition to the obvious danger if your vehicle and others are stuck on or along a snow-covered highway, stranded vehicles also make clearing the roadway much more difficult and time-consuming for ADOT’s snowplows.

Before deciding whether and when to travel, check weather reports and get the latest highway conditions by visiting ADOT’s Arizona Traveler Information site at az511.gov, calling 511 or reviewing ADOT’s Twitter feed (@ArizonaDOT). When a freeway closure or other major traffic event occurs, our free app available at ADOTAlerts.com will send critical information directly to app users in affected areas – where possible, in advance of alternate routes.

If delaying travel isn’t possible, leave prepared for the possibility that you’ll spend extended time in winter conditions. Pack an emergency kit with items like extra blankets, warm clothes, food and water, cat litter or sand for traction, a first-aid kit and a fully charged cellphone.

Those looking to head up north this weekend to play in snow should remember that highway shoulders are for emergencies only. In addition to endangering you and your passengers, parking on a highway shoulder to play in the snow can distract other drivers and interfere with first responders who may need to use the shoulder.

Those heading to popular snow-play areas should be prepared to spend significant time on the road, as traffic at day’s end is often heavy on highways including US 180 northwest of Flagstaff. Locations of designated snow-play areas around Flagstaff are available at flagstaffarizona.org/winter or by calling 1-844-256-SNOW.

Slow down and drive for the conditions you’re in. Be sure to leave extra room between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you.

Give snowplows plenty of room to work. Avoid passing a plow until the driver pulls aside to let traffic by.

Winter weather advisory for tonight through Friday night

WILLIAMS – A thin sheet of ice across Santa Fe dam reservoir and other area lakes show the effects of the winter temperatures Williams has experienced the last few days. Aftera winter of spring-like weather, temperatures have dropped and snow has moved in.

Tonight snow showers are likely after 11 p.m. with a low of 21 overnight. Winds of 16 to 20-mph are expected with gusts as high as 36. 1 to 2-inches of snow are possible.

Snow will continue Friday with a hight near 29. Winds of 11 to 16-mph could gust as high as 32. Chance of 1 to 3 inches of snow over Friday. The chance of snow before 11 p.m. with a new snow accumulation of a half-inch possible. The low is expected to be around 9-degrees, but a northwest wind of 6 to 9-mph may create a wind chill factor of -2.

Saturday the weather turns sunny, with a high near 34. North wind 5 to 10 mph becoming west in the afternoon. Sun is expected to reign until Monday night when the chance of snow begins to rise again.

Flagstaff can expect slightly higher winds and a couple more inches of snow.

Winter storm coming through

WILLIAMS – Please be careful and slow down on the highways and freeways the next couple of days. High winds will likely affect high-profile vehicles and snow and rain will cause the roads to become icy overnight. Watch for snow plows on the highways and keep clear of them.

We are currently in a high wind advisory through Monday night. Today the winds are expected to reach 23-mph with gusts up to 41. On Washington’s Birthday, winds could reach 30-mph with gusts up to 48-mph. Winds will calm over Tuesday.

Rain and snow is expected to start tonight with less than an inch of accumulation. Snow will continue Monday with up to 3-inches possible. Another inch may be possible over Monday night.

Wednesday should be clear with a high near 36. Thursday is mostly sunny with a high near 40. Snow may come back in Thursday through Friday night.

MVD: Buying a vehicle? Check its history

PHOENIX – The Arizona Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Division cautions consumers to beware of potential fraud when buying a car.

“The best defense is to do your research,” says Ralene Whitmer, MVD Title and Registration Specialist. “This is especially true for people buying vehicles from individuals. The possibility for fraud exists and it’s wise for every consumer to thoroughly look into a vehicle’s history. Reputable dealers will always be willing to provide this information, and that same standard should be expected of anyone who sells a vehicle in a private sale.”

A vehicle’s title will include information about its origin and whether it’s been stolen, water-damaged, wrecked, destroyed, or suffered other damage. In addition, some titles will be stamped “Export Only”, which means they were purchased by a dealer from out-of-state or a foreign country and they cannot be legally sold in Arizona.

“The advice from the Motor Vehicle Division is to avoid buying cars in Arizona that are stamped ‘Export Only’”, Whitmer added. “Dealers or individuals who attempt to sell vehicles with an Export Only title stamp within Arizona are breaking the law. Those vehicles can only be sold where the dealer is actually licensed. We have seen problems with this in Arizona communities that border Mexico and other U.S. states.”

Customers can get more information about title, registration and tips on buying and selling vehicles at www.azdot.gov/mvd at the Vehicle Services section.

ADOT to host Small & Disadvantaged Business Transportation Expo

PHOENIX – The Arizona Department of Transportation and partner agencies will hold an event Thursday, March 1, offering tips and tools to owners of small businesses and companies qualifying for the agency’s Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) program.

The DBE & Small Business Transportation Expo, scheduled for 7 a.m. to noon at Glendale Civic Center, will allow attendees to learn about project opportunities, network with industry professionals and business owners and hear from transportation leaders including featured speaker ADOT Director John Halikowski. Also participating are the Phoenix Public Transit and Street Transportation departments, Valley Metro and Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.

ADOT’s Disadvantaged Business Enterprise program helps qualifying small businesses compete for contracts. The companies must be owned by individuals from socially and economically disadvantaged groups, including women and minorities.

“ADOT’s Disadvantaged Business Enterprise program is critical to helping to reduce barriers to entry and teaching DBEs and small businesses how to fish, thrive and survive in the transportation industry,” said Dr. Vivien Lattibeaudiere, ADOT’S Employee and Business Development Administrator. “With access to project opportunities, they can become a meaningful part of building the transportation infrastructure in our state.”

To register for this free event, visit adotdbeexpo.com.

Although the expo is geared toward Disadvantaged Business Enterprises and small businesses, it’s open to all businesses, public agencies, vendors and community partners with an interest in the transportation industry.

For more on the Expo or ADOT’s Disadvantaged Business Enterprise program, contact the ADOT Business Engagement and Compliance Office at 602.712.7761 or visit azdot.gov/dbe.

Summer ramada reservations available for County parks

FLAGSTAFF – County Parks and Recreation will begin accepting summer ramada reservations on February 20, 2018. There are 11 ramadas at four County parks available for rent.

Ramadas are used to host parties, reunions and get-togethers. They are available for rent seven days a week, for half or full days. Reserving a ramada for a party or special occasion will guarantee space and ensure utilities are active.

Customers may reserve a ramada online by going to coconino.az.gov/parks/ramadas. People may also reserve them by going to the Parks and Recreation Administration office located at Fort Tuthill County Park, 2446 Fort Tuthill Loop, Flagstaff. Regular business hours are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Prices range from $46-$114 for ramada rentals. A staff member will follow up with a confirmation within one business day. For reservations less than 24 hours in advance or questions, please call the Administration office at (928) 679-8000.

FDA investigates contamination in raw Darwin’s Natural Pet and ZooLogics pet foods

The FDA is alerting pet owners to a history of four recalls of and multiple complaints associated with Darwin’s Natural and ZooLogics pet foods, manufactured by Arrow Reliance Inc., dba Darwin’s Natural Pet Products, over the period from October 17, 2016 to February 10, 2018. In each instance, the company recalled these products after being alerted to positive findings of Salmonella and/or Listeria monocytogenes in samples of their raw pet food products.

As part of an ongoing investigation into complaints associated with products manufactured by Arrow Reliance/Darwin’s Natural of Tukwila, WA, the FDA has confirmed that new samples of Darwin’s Natural Pet Products raw pet foods have tested positive for Salmonella. These raw pet foods include ZooLogics Duck with Vegetable Meals for Dogs Lot #41957 and ZooLogics Chicken with Vegetable Meals for Dogs Lot #41567.

The latest recall was triggered by a complaint of an adult dog that had recurring diarrhea over a nine-month period. The dog tested positive for Salmonella from initial testing by the veterinarian and by follow-up testing by the FDA’s Veterinary Laboratory Investigation and Response Network (Vet-LIRN). The Darwin’s Natural raw pet food that the dog had been fed was also positive for Salmonella.

Arrow Reliance/Darwin’s Natural is aware of the dog’s illness and the positive results and initiated a recall on February 10, 2018 by directly notifying its customers via email. The firm has not issued a public recall notice.

Since October 2016, Arrow Reliance/Darwin’s Natural has initiated four recalls and had six reported complaints (some referring to more than one animal) associated with their raw pet food products, including the death of one kitten from a severe systemic Salmonella infection. The Salmonella isolated from the kitten was analyzed using whole genome sequencing and found to be indistinguishable from the Salmonella isolated from a closed package from the same lot of Darwin’s Natural cat food that the kitten ate.

In addition to reports of illnesses associated with Salmonella contamination in the products, the FDA is aware of complaints of at least three animals who were reportedly injured by bone shards in the Darwin’s Natural raw pet food products.

Since 2016, Arrow Reliance/Darwin’s Natural has recalled the following raw pet food products:

  • Darwin’s Natural Selections Duck with Organic Vegetables Meals for dogs, due to Salmonella
    Lot #40487, manufacture date 9/29/17, in 2 lb. flexible film packages, recalled on 12/04/17
  • Darwin’s Natural Selections Chicken with Organic Vegetables Meals for Dogs, due to Salmonella and Listeria Monocytogenes
    Lot #40727, manufacture date 9/26/17, in 2 lb. flexible film packages, recalled on 12/04/17
  • Darwin’s Natural Selections Turkey with Organic Vegetables Meals for Dogs, due to Salmonella
    Lot #39937, manufacture date 8/24/17 and Lot #40507, manufacture date 9/20/17, in 2 lb. flexible film packages, recalled on 12/04/17
  • Darwin’s Natural Selections Frozen Duck Meals for Cats, due to potential contamination with Salmonella
    Lot #38277, manufacture date 6/1/17, in 2 lb. flexible film packages, recalled on 09/08/17
  • Darwin’s Natural Selections Frozen Raw Beef with Organic Vegetables Meals for Dogs, due Listeria Monocytogenes
    Lot #3146070, manufacture date 7/21/16, in 2 lb. flexible film packages, recalled on 10/17/16
  • Darwin’s Natural Selections Frozen Raw Turkey with Organic Vegetables Meals for Dogs, due to Listeria Monocytogenes
    Lot #3142070, manufacture date 7/20/16, in 2 lb. flexible film packages, recalled on 10/17/16
  • ZooLogics Frozen Raw Turkey with Vegetable Meals for Dogs, due to Listeria monocytogenes
    Lot #3155070, manufacture date 7/25/16, in 2 lb. flexible film packages, recalled on 10/17/16

The recalled lot codes and the manufacturing dates are printed directly on the flexible film packages.

Arrow Reliance/Darwin’s Natural initiated each recall of the product lots by notifying customers directly via email. The company states that the raw pet foods are only sold online through direct-to-consumer sales.

This contaminated raw pet food is of particular public health importance because of the potential hazard to both human and animal health. Pets can get sick from Salmonella, but may also be carriers of the bacteria and can infect humans. Pets do not have to be apparently ill to be able to pass Salmonella onto their human companions.

People infected with Salmonella can develop diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps. The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days, and most people recover without treatment.

Pets do not always display symptoms when infected with Salmonella, but signs can include vomiting, diarrhea (which may be bloody), fever, loss of appetite and/or decreased activity level. Pets can pass Salmonella to humans without showing any signs of the illness themselves.

ADOT officers assist local law enforcement in two northern Arizona arrests

PHOENIX – In addition to protecting Arizonans and infrastructure by ensuring commercial vehicles are safe to drive on the state’s highways and have proper permits, Arizona Department of Transportation officers manning commercial ports of entry coordinate with local law enforcement agencies. That partnership paid off during the past week near St. George, Utah, and in Kingman where ADOT officers helped apprehend suspects in cases involving rape and theft.

On Sunday, an ADOT Enforcement and Compliance Division officer inspecting a semi at the St. George port of entry learned, while determining whether the driver’s commercial license was valid, that the driver, Thorpe G. Steel, was wanted in Utah for rape.

Stalling for time, the ADOT officer told Steel to wait in the port of entry office while he conducted a walk-around inspection of his truck. The officer contacted Utah State Troopers and continued to stall until a trooper arrived and arrested Steel.

On the evening of February 6, two individuals broke into a Kingman man’s home and stole his 2007 Toyota FJ Cruiser and other items. Around noon February 7, two ADOT officers stationed at the Topock port of entry on I-40, heading back from training in Kingman, spotted what appeared to be the vehicle heading in the opposite direction.

Once they verified it was the vehicle, the ADOT officers contacted Kingman police dispatch as well as ADOT dispatch. Both ADOT and Kingman officers pulled the vehicle over on Stockton Hill Road, and the suspects were arrested without incident.

Fuels Reduction Efforts Continue on Tusayan Ranger District

TUSAYAN – Fire Managers on the Tusayan Ranger District of the Kaibab National Forest will continue burning slash piles on a 429 acre block this week just west of the Grand Canyon Airport.

The return of wet winter weather has enabled crews to resume working where they started last month eliminating woody fuel loads from previous thinning projects southwest of the town of Tusayan. Piles generally consume quickly due to the arrangement of burnable material above the ground and have little to no spread potential over the dampened surface.Smoke may be visible for short durations from the Grand Canyon Village, Highway 64 and the community of Tusayan but is expected to dissipate rapidly toward the northeast with very light impacts. Conditions are monitored closely throughout the day to ensure smoke ventilation is optimal during operations.

Visitors are always reminded to use caution when traveling in the vicinity of prescribed fires, as firefighters, fire-related traffic and smoke may all be present.

All prescribed fires 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 www.azdeq.gov/programs/air-quality-programs/smoke-management