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Thu, April 15

Contractor completes first phase of forest restoration on Bill Williams Mountain

Around 300 acres of dead and downed trees were removed during the first phase of the Bill Williams  Mountain Restoration Project.  (Photo/WGCN)

Around 300 acres of dead and downed trees were removed during the first phase of the Bill Williams Mountain Restoration Project. (Photo/WGCN)

WILLIAMS, Ariz. — Operations are wrapping up on the first phase of steep slope treatment on the Bill Williams Mountain Restoration Project.

The Bill Williams Steep Slope 1 Project successfully thinned 300 acres of dense standing trees and removed dead and down trees on the mountain located just outside of the city of Williams utilizing ground-based, helicopter and hand thinning operations.

The Bill Williams Mountain Restoration Project is a collaboration between Coconino County, the National Forest Foundation (NFF), Kaibab National Forest, Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management and private partners. The goal of the project is to reduce the threat of catastrophic wildfire and post-wildfire flooding to keep communities safe.

“This project is a top priority for all of the partners, and none of us can accomplish the work alone. Because of the partnership, we’re starting to make a difference on those slopes,” said Debra Mollet, Flagstaff District Ranger. “Together we secured the resources to plan and implement Steep Slope 1. We’re continuing to work together as we wrap-up that first phase and prepare for Steep Slope 2.”

Bill Williams Mountain has been identified as a critical resource deserving special protection from catastrophic wildfire and post-wildfire flooding. Studies show that forest restoration treatments could reduce the potential for active crown fire from 61 percent down to 18 percent on the mountain.

“The steep nature of the mountain makes logging operations incredibly complex. The project’s contractor Markit! Forestry Management, operate safely and effectively to complete this important work,” said National Forest Foundation’s Arizona Program Forestry Supervisor, Mark Brehl.

While the forest restoration work is complete for the season, ground and mulched materials remain at the landing and will continue to be removed off the project site.

What’s next

Residents in the city of Williams can expect to continue to see chip vans in transit in the coming weeks. Forest Road 106 and 100 feet on either side of the road will remain closed for public safety during this time.

In addition to chipped and ground materials removed from the mountain, approximately 120 cords of wood from the project area were transported to Navajo and Hopi communities as part of the Wood for Life tribal fuelwood initiative.

Wood for Life is a partnership to connect timber from forest restoration treatments with tribal communities in need firewood for heating, cooking and other uses. Though only in its first year of operation, the partnership is expected to deliver more than 900 cords by the end of this year.

Coconino County has identified fire and post-wildfire flooding as the number one safety threat to the residents of the county.

“Coconino County is pleased with the results of treating Steep Slope 1 and we are looking forward to solidifying plans for Steep Slope 2, which we hope will begin next year. Coconino County’s Flood Control District is proud to commit $2 million to Steep Slope 2 and the National Forest Foundation is assisting with funding from their Northern Arizona Forest Fund,” said Jay Smith, Coconino County’s Forest Restoration Director. “It’s projects like this one that show partnerships work. Coconino County’s Flood Control District remains committed to this project to protect the City of Williams, their water resources and economy from catastrophic wildfires and post-wildfire flooding.”

Information provided by Kaibab National Forest

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