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Fri, April 10

Bert Fire grows to 2,416 acres while improving forest health

The lightning caused Bert Fire continues to be active and is being allowed to burn naturally to improve forest health. Photo/USFS, Kaibab National Forest

The lightning caused Bert Fire continues to be active and is being allowed to burn naturally to improve forest health. Photo/USFS, Kaibab National Forest

VALLE, Ariz. - Fire Managers on the Williams Ranger District of the Kaibab National Forest anticipate daily growth of the lightning caused Bert Fire as weather permits and ground fuels remain readily available.

The lightning caused Bert Fire continues to be active and is being allowed to burn naturally to improve forest health on the Williams Ranger District of the Kaibab National Forest. At more than 2,416 acres in size, the fire is growing steadily while providing significant resource benefits, and fire managers anticipate that trend will continue given the drier weather pattern in place.

On June 2 Quentin Johnson, incident commander for the Bert Fire said the Bert Fire is doing exactly what fire managers hoped it would.

"It is backing through forest that needs to burn within the historic fire return interval. This frequency of fire on the landscape helps maintain a healthy environment, and we are seeing the kinds of effects we want. The fire is cleaning up accumulated fuels and improving the overall condition of the forest," he said.

Crews have successfully allowed fire to consume fuels along the north and east perimeter of the planning area. This action will help safeguard containment lines and limit the potential for fire to move into areas that may pose additional holding difficulties.

The lightening caused fire started May 28.

On June 2, crews continued with preparation work that included securing Highway 180. A burn out operation was scheduled to take place south of the highway over the following two days. A burn out operation is used to create a safe blackline, which is effective in stopping the advance of an approaching fire and keeping it within a designated area. Motorists are asked to use additional caution when driving through fire areas and reduce speeds when appropriate.

Smoke will continue to be visible from Highways 180 and 64 and within the community of Valle. Volume may vary from day to day depending on fire activity. Southwest winds are expected to transport smoke away from sensitive locations.

More information from the Kaibab National Forest is available through the following sources: InciWeb http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/4751/; Kaibab National Forest Fire Information Phone Line (928) 635-8311; Text Message - text 'follow kaibabnf' to 40404.

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