Photo by Wendy Howell.
WILLIAMS, Ariz. — Tree removal has begun on a 1,039-acre project on the Williams Ranger District of the Kaibab National Forest associated with the Four Forest Restoration Initiative (4FRI).
The Community Tank Timber Sale area is located about 11 miles north of Parks just south of Forest Road 171 and west of Kendrick Mountain Wilderness near Pumpkin Center.
Harvesting operations recently began in the area and are expected to be completed by the end of this year, depending on weather conditions over the next few months.
As thinning work is implemented, residents and visitors can expect to see heavy, mechanized equipment and workers in the project area and an increasing number of log trucks traveling along the haul route. Because work is progressing quickly at the project site, it is expected that log trucks will begin hauling starting this week.
The major haul route will be from the project area south along Forest Road 141 through Parks to Interstate 40. The forest service said there could be a significant number of trucks hauling timber through this area until the project is complete.
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.
“It’s really important that local community members and visitors understand that they need to be careful when driving near a log truck or in areas where logging work is occurring. These are not areas to camp or play around in, and people need to be aware of what is happening around them,” said Tom Dauenhauer, a timber sale administrator for the Kaibab National Forest. “In the long run, the benefits of this work will be safer communities and healthier forests for all of us for years into the future. In the short term, though, it means being extra vigilant near project areas and haul routes so that this forest restoration work can be accomplished safely.”
The objectives of the Community Tank Timber Sale are to reduce fuel loading and the potential for future high-intensity wildfires and to improve forest health and watershed conditions. The thinning and logging work occurring on the Williams Ranger District of the Kaibab National Forest is associated with 4FRI.
The goal of 4FRI, according to the forest service, is to accelerate the pace and scale of restoration within 2.4 million acres of ponderosa pine forest in northern Arizona to increase resilience and proper functioning. Restoring this fire-adapted ecosystem is accomplished with a suite of restoration activities — from watershed maintenance and habitat improvements to prescribed burning and thinning.
More information about 4FRI is available at www.fs.usda.gov/4fri.