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Sun, March 29

Williams Ranger District prepares for 12,700 acres of prescribed burning

Williams Ranger District 2014-2015 Prescribed Fire Planning Map. Map/Williams Ranger District/Kaibab National Forest

Williams Ranger District 2014-2015 Prescribed Fire Planning Map. Map/Williams Ranger District/Kaibab National Forest

WILLIAMS, Ariz. - Starting this month, the Williams and Tusayan Ranger Districts have prescribed (Rx) fire plans for approximately 12,700 acres and 4,400 acres respectively.

However, the Forest Service may treat significantly fewer acres if conditions are not favorable. Conditions include correct temperature, wind, fuel moisture, ventilation, and relative humidity.

When these criteria are met, crews implement, monitor, and patrol each burn to ensure it meets the goals and objectives outlined by fire managers.

"We know that during implementation of prescribed fires, firefighter activity, helicopter noise, vehicle traffic, and smoke can all have an impact to forest users and our communities," said Forest Fire Staff Officer Art Gonzales. "So we include these concerns into our decision process and work very closely with the National Weather Service and the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality to minimize these impacts as much as possible while still meeting our goals for forest health and public safety."

The forest service's key goals for prescribed fire include continuing efforts to improve forest health, enhance public safety, and return fire to a fire-adapted ecosystem. Additionally, prescribed fire lowers the risk of severe wildfires on the forest during critical summer fire conditions by reducing litter, debris, and dense stands of trees.

"We've made great strides in areas where private businesses and homes meet the forest, but there is still lots of work to be done in creating defensible spaces," Gonzales added.

Before a prescribed fire, the Forest Service will notify people in surrounding areas with email news releases, the forest fire information line, Inciweb, Twitter, flyers, and the Forest Service website, www.fs.usda.gov/kaibab.

Immediately following a prescribed fire, browning of lower level pine needles may occur as the tree crown is raised.

Some areas are also part of long term project work where future timber marking paint, mechanical thinning equipment, and other impacts may occur.

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