WILLIAMS, Ariz. — Fire managers on the south zone of the Kaibab National Forest have completed several units of their 2017 fall and 2018 spring prescribed fire burning projects.
Operations are planned for four prescribed fire projects on both the Williams and Tusayan Ranger Districts that include the Sunflower Project, the Reed Project, and the Green Base Dry Lake and Hardy Projects. As of Oct. 27, fire managers have treated 7,855 acres.
According to Bob Blasi, Fire Information Officer for Kaibab National Forest, crews are nearly finished with the treatments on the Hardy and Dry Lake units of the Green Base Prescribed fire project on the Williams Ranger District, which totals 9,836 acres.
Crews are also working on the Reed Project on the Tusayan Ranger District, and the Sunflower project south of Williams is scheduled to begin this week.
Fire managers said ignitions are being implemented in the different areas only when favorable weather conditions exist to allow for desirable burning effects and limit smoke impacts in the rural areas.
Smoke management will remain a top priority to minimize impacts to roadways, business and residential areas. Managers say smoke will be visible from I-40, Highway 64, Forest Road 74 and surrounding areas.
“We fully recognize that smoke impacts can be unpleasant for residents in the vicinity of these burns,” said Jeremy Human, South Zone fire management officer.
“Managing smoke is often our biggest challenge during these type of operations and we are constantly adjusting our methods to decrease exposure.”
Firefighters are patrolling and monitoring the fires daily. Human said burn days are chosen by forecasted wind patterns to maximize ventilation away from residential area.
Fire managers said crews have been working steadily on the Green Base projects and are expecting to complete ignitions this week.
The following project areas are scheduled for treatments:
Green Base Dry Lake Project: 13 burn units northeast of Williams, north of I-40 and east of Highway 64 near Pittman Valley. This project is a total of 5,990 acres, with 5,090 acres burned to date.
Green Base Hardy Project: five burn units also northeast of Williams, north of I-40 and east of Highway 64 near Pittman Valley. This project is a total of 3,846 acres, with 2,348 acres burned to date.
Reed Project: three burn units five miles east of Tusayan and just south of the Grand Canyon National Park. This project size is 1,182 acres, with 417 acres burned to date.
Sunflower Project: seven burn units south of Williams, between County Road 73 and Whitehorse Lake. This project is a total of 15,195 acres. Treatment is just beginning.
Officials understand that impacts to air quality may be unpleasant at times; however, they can significantly reduce the amount and limit the duration of smoke more effectively using prescribed methods as opposed to an uncontrolled wildfire situation.
More information and updates regarding the Kaibab South Zone prescribed fires can be found at https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5160/