Fire advisory: North Zone fire managers plan for Moquitch prescribed burn

A USFS firefighter conducts managed ignitions on the McRae Fire near Tusayan, Arizona, July 17, 2014 | Photo courtesy of US Agriculture Department Forest Service, St. George News

FREDONIA, Arizona – As more prescribed fires generally equate to fewer extreme wildfires, North Zone fire managers continue to track the ever-changing weather conditions for opportunities to implement the prescribed fire burn plan for the North Kaibab Ranger District. Currently, fire managers are assessing weather conditions in the forest with plans to implement the Moquitch 2 Rx burn as early as conditions allow.

The Moquitch 2 project is approximately 5 miles west of AZ 67 and is 2,486 acres in size. The burn unit is geographically located east of Forest Service Road (FSR) 282, north of FSR 212 and west of FSR 640. This burn unit is mainly comprised of ponderosa pine with scattered clumps of aspen.

Moquitch 2 prescribed burn area | Image courtesy of North Kaibab Ranger District

Last week, fire managers were able to successfully implement prescribed fire treatment in the Jacob Ryan South Groupsite Unit, which was approximately 471 acres in size, with minimal smoke impacts to the area.

In addition to reducing hazardous fuels and protecting forest visitors and the local community, prescribed fire also helps minimize the spread of insects and disease, provides forage for game, improves wildlife habitat, and recycles nutrients back into the soil to promote regeneration of trees and other plant species.

During the planning stages of any prescribed fire, fire managers and other forest specialists write burn plans, which consider temperature, humidity, wind, moisture of the vegetation and conditions for the dispersal of smoke. Prescribed fire specialists compare conditions on the ground to those outlined in burn plans before deciding whether to burn on a given day. They want to maximize the ideal fall weather conditions
to increase landscape resilience to wildfire, insects and disease, return fire to a fire-adapted ecosystem, improve forest health and sustainability and enhance public safety.

The prescribed fire treatments are only implemented when environmental conditions are ideal to assuring firefighter and visitor safety and only upon approval of the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality.

Visitors are cautioned that they may see fire personnel and fire vehicles in the vicinity when any prescribed fire is being implemented and are reminded to drive slowly, turn on headlights and avoid stopping in areas where fire personnel are working.

Submitted by North Kaibab Ranger District

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