WILLIAMS, Ariz. - As part of a continuing program to improve forest health, reduce hazardous fuels and return fire to the ecosystem, fire managers are preparing for this season's prescribed fire program on the Williams and Tusayan Ranger Districts of the Kaibab National Forest.
Prescribed fire is one tool managers use to lower the risk of severe wildfires. While this is an effective tool to reduce the potential for large wildfires, there is a trade-off, and that is dealing with smoke.
The objective is to have fewer days of smoke impacts during a prescribed fire than long-duration heavy smoke during a wildfire. In order to manage smoke production, forest officials coordinate with the National Weather Service and Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) before and during prescribed burns.
The ignition of all prescribed fires is dependent on the availability of personnel and equipment, weather, fuels and conditions that minimize smoke impacts as best as possible, and ADEQ approval. Fire managers follow a burn plan that outlines the "prescription" or environmental conditions such as temperature, wind, fuel moisture, ventilation, and relative humidity that need to be present before the project begins.
When ADEQ approves the burn request, crews implement, monitor, and patrol each burn to ensure it meets the goals and objectives in the burn plan. While most prescribed fires last one day, large projects may take several days to accomplish.
The prescribed fire program may extend well into the winter. These are some of the projects on the Williams and Tusayan Ranger Districts that may occur this season. Crews will try to accomplish as much of the total acreage as possible depending on the length of the burning season, weather conditions and smoke impacts.
Williams Ranger District
City - Up to 2,014 acres total (all broadcast burns) - south and southeast of Williams
Frenchy/Pineaire - Up to 529 acres total, (broadcast burns) near Parks and south of Parks -- 306
Kendrick - 1200 acres southwest of Kendrick Mountain, (broadcast burn) 16 miles northeast of Williams.
Tusayan East WUI -- 50 acres (broadcast burn), one mile east of Tusayan
Tusayan South WUI -- 120 acres (broadcast burn), on the south end of Grand Canyon Airport
Flying J - 187 (broadcast burn), two miles southwest of Tusayan
Efforts are made to keep the public notified of prescribed fire activities by email, Inciweb, Twitter, flyers, recorded phone line, and the forest website. Contact Punky Moore, fire information officer, with any questions at (928) 635-5653.