Press Release – Stage 1 Fire Restrictions Lifted

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


November 10, 2020
Stage 1 Fire Restrictions Lifted.
Holbrook, AZ – On Monday November 9th, the voting members of the White Mountain Fire Coordinating Group (WMFCG), met to discuss the Stage 1 Fire Restrictions that were enacted late last month. The WMFCG is made up of several organizations, including Apache and Navajo County Emergency Management, Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests, Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management, Bureau of Indian Affairs-Ft. Apache Agency, Bureau of Land Management, Northeast Arizona Fire Chiefs Association and Northeast Arizona Police Association.

The members rely on data such as the number of available firefighting resources, conditions of the forest fuels, weather forecasts, and upcoming events that attract visitors to the region to evaluate the need for entering into or the lifting of restrictions in the unincorporated areas of both counties. The other forest areas such as Apache-Sitgreaves, BIA, BLM and DFFM attempt to coordinate with our restrictions whenever it is prudent to do so.

Just a few weeks ago, the data was showing huge potential for wildfire activity throughout the region. Fuels were extremely dry, resources were nominal, weather forecasts were unseasonably warm and dry, and we were still seeing large numbers of visitors. The current forest fuels have received moisture from two recent storms which have helped reduce the threat of wildfire and the weather is cooling off and relative humidity is coming back up. The number of visitors is going down though we still have hunters and campers visiting our forests and active fuelwood and Christmas tree cutting activities taking place (permits can be found here: https://www.recreation.gov/tree-permits). For all of these reasons the following agencies will be lifting Stage 1 Fire Restrictions: Apache County, Navajo County and Apache Sitgreaves National Forest, tomorrow November 10th at 8:00a.m.

As a reminder, wildfire is always a threat and we should all be good stewards of our lands. Even though we have received some precipitation we ask everyone to follow these simple rules to keep our forests and communities safe year-round:
• Never leave a fire unattended at any time
• Always extinguish EVERY fire by using the drown, stir and feel method.
• If you see smoke or unattended fires, make sure to report them to the proper authorities

Citizens should continue to learn about the Firewise program and maintain a Firewise home. Homeowners can look find more Firewise information here where you can find a simple checklist to keep homes safe.

Other agencies throughout the region may still be in restrictions. Make sure you know the rules for what is allowed before you ignite any campfires. Check regional information by visiting www.311info.net. Remember “Know before you go!”

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White Mountain Apache Tribe is Conducting Prescribed Burns

Slash pile burning to begin on Friday, October 30, 2020 on the Fort Apache Indian Reservation 

The Bureau of Indian Affairs Fort Apache Agency Fire Management in coordination with the White Mountain Apache Tribe will conduct slash pile burn operations on Friday, October 30, 2020 within two burn units. If conditions are favorable they will continue treatment efforts throughout the weekend.  

Soldier Butte Burn Unit: The Soldier Butte burn unit is located about 6 miles east of McNary just north of Little Bear Lake.  There are two small burn blocks totaling 545 acres that are planned to be treated.   

Chuckbox Burn Unit: The Chuckbox burn unit is located northwest of Cibecue just along Whitetail Ridge.  The slash pile unit is 350 acres.  

Public and firefighter safety is always the number one priority in burning operations. Wind helps disperse smoke created during pile burning operations and snow helps keep the piles contained. Seeing flames and smoke, even after dark, is part of normal operations. This is one way that we can help reduce the buildup of fuels on the landscape under the safest conditions. 

Conditions are evaluated each day to determine if ignition will take place. Precipitation, wind, temperature, fuel moisture and staffing all play a part in when and whether ignition occurs. 

Nearby residents should expect smoke in the vicinity and drivers should pay extra attention while traveling through or adjacent to burn areas.  

All Prescribed Fire activity will be carefully monitored and will comply with smoke management guidelines to reduce the impact of smoke on local residents. If conditions become unfavorable prescribed burning efforts will be ceased to mitigate smoke impacts to the communities. 

If you have any questions regarding our upcoming prescribed burning efforts, you can call Candy Lupe, Public Information Officer at (928) 338-5425 or you can log onto BIA Fort Apache Agency’s Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/BIAFAAFireMgt