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

Pile Burns to Continue on South Side of Williams Ranger District

WILLIAMS – Fire crews will begin burning an additional 500 acres of hand piles scattered across the southern half of the Williams Ranger District beginning Monday of this week.

Inclement weather bringing moisture has presented favorable conditions to continue reducing fuel loads at various locations that include Coleman Lake, Sevier Flat, and Jackass Flat. Conditions will be evaluated daily before burns are implemented to ensure desirable effects and management objectives are being met. Fire managers will conduct operations incrementally at different locations throughout the week.

Smoke production is expected to be minimal with very short duration and disperse quickly to the northeast. No overnight impacts are expected.

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

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/

Pile Burning continues on Williams Ranger District

Kaibab Forest Service photo

WILLIAMS – Conditions remain optimal for fire managers to continue burning slash piles on the south side of the Williams Ranger District and crews will move forward with burning an additional 94 acres on Thursday of this week near Coleman Lake adjacent to County Road 73. As moisture in the area remains, additional acres will be identified and treated.

Recent snow fall levels have allowed for the opportunity to work at least two more days in the area. Fuels specialists are accomplishing the objectives they hoped for with no control concerns. Pile burning will likely continue throughout the winter months as weather permits and conditions remain favorable.

Smoke may be visible during the early part of the day but is expected to be minimal in volume and disperse rapidly. No overnight impacts are expected.

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

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/

Snowfall forecast on North Kaibab Ranger District

FREDONIA – Fire managers plan to burn piles on the North Kaibab Ranger District of the Kaibab National Forest tomorrow through Friday, weather permitting.

Crews will be active on approximately 125 acres at the southern end of the district near DeMotte campground and on 250 acres at the northern end of the district near Jacob Lake. The treatment is continuation of the Plateau Facilities Fire Protection Project, an ongoing wildfire mitigation project that includes a combination of prescribed burning and mechanical thinning designed to ultimately treat about 5,000 acres across the Kaibab Plateau.

The piles have cured over the last few years and are expected to consume quickly. Winds are expected to have a southerly influence, which would push any smoke produced to the north/northeast. However, fire managers anticipate smoke impacts to be very light as transport winds are forecast to be 10-to-15 mph. Individuals in the surrounding area who have smoke sensitivities are advised to limit their outdoor exposure during the pile burn.

General Information: Implementation of any particular prescribed fire, including a pile burn, is dependent on weather and fuel conditions including winds, temperature, humidity, moisture of the vegetation and ventilation conditions for dispersal of smoke. 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 http://www.azdeq.gov/programs/air-quality-programs/smoke-management.

No road or trail closures are expected. However, in the interest of safety, 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.

Williams Ranger District plans small pile burns on Wednesday

WILLIAMS – Fire managers on the Williams Ranger District are planning to burn two small units of slash piles totaling 16 acres on Wednesday of this week. A 2 acre unit of machine piles on the southwest side of Sitgreaves Mountain and a 14 acre block of hand piles near forest road 108 south of I-40 are the specific locations scheduled for treatment.

“Conditions are ideal for cleaning up these two areas with the impending weather forecast bringing snow overnight” said Fuels Specialist Zach Boness. “We expect full consumption of the debris with no potential for fire to carry on the ground.”

Smoke is expected to rise just above tree top levels and disperse rapidly to the east moving away from the local area. Short duration smoke impacts may occur on County Road 73, and on the south side of the district throughout the day however no overnight impacts are expected.

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

North Kaibab Ranger District scheduled to close due to construction

FREDONIA – All services at the North Kaibab Ranger District office will be closed on Tuesday, December 12 and Wednesday, December 13 due to the construction of a pedestrian boardwalk and hazardous tree removal of the large Elm directly west of the main building.

Services are scheduled to resume on Thursday, December 14 Monday through Friday, excluding holidays. Regular office hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Kaibab National Forest partners with The Nature Conservancy on forest restoration project

Heavy equipment being used during mechanical thinning operations along Forest Road 122. Photo by Dyan Bone. Credit Kaibab National Forest.

WILLIAMS – The Kaibab National Forest is partnering with The Nature Conservancy to complete critical forest restoration and watershed protection work around Bill Williams Mountain near the City of Williams.

The tree thinning work within the 2,496-acre Clover project area began this week and is expected to continue over the next two years, depending on weather and ground conditions at any given time. The work is occurring within the larger 15,200-acre Bill Williams Mountain Restoration Project footprint and is a top treatment priority for forest managers due to the area being the primary watershed and municipal water supply for the City of Williams.

“Getting this work accomplished is incredibly important to us as forest managers and as members of the Williams community,” said Samantha Flores, timber staff officer for the South Zone of the Kaibab National Forest. “By partnering with The Nature Conservancy through a stewardship agreement, we are able to meet our shared goals of greatly improving forest and watershed health while also making the City of Williams safer in the long run from threats like wildfire and flooding.”

As thinning work is implemented, residents and visitors can expect to see heavy, mechanized equipment and workers in the project area as well as an increasing number of log trucks, including some that may need to travel through the City of Williams. Haul routes will include forest roads 111, 106 and 140 as well as County Road 73 and Interstate 40. It is possible that there could be a significant number of trucks hauling timber through the area until project completion.

Members of the public are urged to use extreme caution near timber removal and hauling operations. Besides the presence of heavy equipment and log trucks, there will also be trees being felled and stacked into log decks, which can be unstable. Visitors to the area should not camp near nor climb on them, as they often shift and have the possibility of collapse.

While there are no official closures in place associated with this forest restoration work, visitors interested in hiking Bill Williams Mountain are encouraged to use the Bill Williams Mountain Trail rather than the Benham Trail for the duration of the project due to the likelihood that temporary detours or re-routes of Benham Trail might be necessary at various points, depending on harvesting activity.

Besides the Clover project, other forest restoration efforts are also underway in the Bill Williams Mountain Restoration Project footprint. Kaibab National Forest employees have planned and laid out more than 3,500 acres to be included in timber sales. This has involved developing prescriptions for these acres and marking trees within them. Members of the public may notice the marked trees while visiting the area. The Forest Service will be seeking to offer these acres in timber sales in the near future to local contractors and others who may be able to support the forest restoration effort.

Also, 700 acres are being treated using hand thinning operations on the steep slopes of the south side of Bill Williams Mountain. Because of the inability of most heavy equipment to reach these challenging areas, crews are carrying in chainsaws to accomplish the work.

Finally, more than 200 acres are being treated using mechanical thinning, meaning heavy equipment, along Forest Road 122, also known as the Twin Springs Road, south of Bill Williams Mountain. This treatment is intended to serve as a buffer for any wildfires that might get started south of the mountain. This is a particularly important place to treat given prevailing winds in northern Arizona and the typical direction of wildfire spread due to those winds. This is also a critical treatment due to the high recreational use in this area and the resulting potential for unwanted, human-caused wildfires that could pose threats to the mountain and to the Williams community.

“For many years, even decades, on the Kaibab National Forest, we have been working toward this goal of treating Bill Williams Mountain in a truly significant way that will help not only in terms of forest health but also community protection and public safety,” said Mike Uebel, fuels program manager for the Williams Ranger District of the Kaibab National Forest and the implementation team leader for the Bill Williams Mountain Restoration Project. “To see all of the time, energy and preparation we’ve put into this effort turning into actual work on the ground is very rewarding and something we hope the Williams community will be pleased to see in action.”

Prescribed burning to continue near Tusayan

TUSAYAN – Crews plan to continue working on the Reed Prescribed Fire project east of Tusayan over the next few days and will likely begin on Friday of this week. Burning may continue into the week ahead providing weather conditions remain favorable for meeting forest health objectives and desired smoke dispersion.

Ignitions are set to continue on a 289 acre block approximately 4 miles east of Tusayan and just south of the East Rim Drive in the Grand Canyon National Park.

“The majority of smoke produced during daytime operations is expected to disperse away from sensitive areas, however we do expect some residual smoke to settle into drainages and low lying areas overnight.” said Quentin Johnson, Fire Management Officer on the Tusayan Ranger District. “Due to the proximity of these particular burn units located relatively close to town, our biggest challenge is trying to treat these acres with the least amount of smoke impact to the surrounding communities.”

Managers recognize the inconvenience smoke can cause and adjust tactics to limit the number of days smoke is in the air by burning smaller portions and only igniting every few days allowing ventilation to occur earlier and more rapidly. Among the many benefits of re-introducing fire to landscapes in these forested areas, broadcast burning is utilized to remove dead and down debris from ground surfaces over wide areas lessening the potential for a catastrophic wildfire.

Smoke may be visible from Highway 64 and from the communities of Grand Canyon, Valle and Tusayan. Overnight smoke impacts are expected to lift and ventilate rapidly each morning as ground surface temperatures warm in the 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.

For more information and the most current updates about prescribed fire on the Kaibab National Forest the following resources are available:

• 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

Fire managers to conduct prescribed fire southeast of Williams tomorrow

WILLIAMS – Fire managers for the South Zone of the Kaibab National Forest plan to treat up to 320 acres with prescribed fire tomorrow in the Sunflower Project area on the Williams Ranger District.

Specifically, fire managers plan to ignite the 320 acres in an area just south of Forest Road 139 and east of Hyde Hill about 8 miles southeast of the City of Williams. Ignitions should be complete by early afternoon, and fire managers do not anticipate conducting any other prescribed fires on the Williams Ranger District this week.

Smoke from tomorrow’s prescribed fire in the Sunflower Project area is expected to largely remain south of Williams and potentially impact Barney Flat and Cougar Park. It is possible that light smoke impacts may occur along County Road 73 and in Williams.

Prescribed fire projects require approval from the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality and are dependent on weather and wind conditions, so any project may be canceled if approval is not received or if conditions are not suitable. Members of the public can view approved prescribed fires for any given day on ADEQ’s website at http://www.azdeq.gov/environ/air/smoke/index.html. Prescribed fires on the Kaibab National Forest begin with the identifier “KNF.”

Fire plays a beneficial role in maintaining the ecological stability of many landscapes including the Kaibab National Forest. Managers use prescribed fire to reduce risks associated with uncharacteristic wildfires that can pose significant threats to public health and safety.

During prescribed fires, motorists are cautioned that smoke may be present for 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.

Notifications of upcoming prescribed fires are provided regularly by news releases throughout the season and also through the following resources:

Sign up to receive news releases from Kaibab NF: www.fs.fed.us/news/subscription.shtml (Choose “Southwestern Region.”)
Kaibab NF’s website: www.fs.usda.gov/kaibab (Look under “Recent News.”)
Kaibab NF’s Twitter account: www.twitter.com/KaibabNF (Text ‘follow kaibabnf’ to 40404 to receive text messages.)
Kaibab NF’s Facebook page: www.facebook.com/KaibabNF
Kaibab NF’s Inciweb page for the South Zone (Williams and Tusayan Ranger Districts): https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5160/#
Kaibab NF’s Inciweb page for the North Zone (North Kaibab Ranger District and North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park): https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5632/#
Kaibab NF’s Fire Information Recorded Hotline: 928-635-8311

A map of the Sunflower Project area is provided below. The map shows the entire 15,195-acre Sunflower Project. Tomorrow, fire managers plan to burn only 320 acres in the northeast corner of the larger project area just south of Forest Road 139 and east of Hyde Hill.

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.