Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests Prepare for Prescribed Burning Season

Springerville, AZ, October 12, 2021 — Fire managers on the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests are planning for the 2021 fall and 2022 spring prescribed fire burning season that is expected to begin in October of this year.

Fire plays a beneficial role in maintaining the ecological stability of the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests. Managers use prescribed fire as a practical means to reduce risks associated with uncharacteristic or catastrophic wildfires.
The Forest Service’s land management strategy is centered on long-term forest health, which includes reducing forest fuels and using prescribed fire on the landscape. A healthy forest is a resilient forest that undergoes fire occurrences on a regular basis. The Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests works with partners, collaborators, and communities to clearly identify objectives and address concerns during the planning process for prescribed fires.

Officials recognize that impacts to air quality may be unpleasant at times, however they can significantly reduce the amount and limit the duration of smoke more effectively using prescribed methods than in an uncontrolled wildfire situation. Additionally, fire managers will actively monitor atmospheric conditions daily and use strategies to minimize smoke impacts to rural developed areas.

During operations, fire personnel and vehicles working in these vicinities will be visible to the public. Motorists are reminded to slow down and drive with heightened caution when passing through active project areas.

Individual news releases will be forthcoming throughout the season, detailing specific information about each burn.

All prescribed burning on the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests is subject to approval by the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ). For additional information about the Smoke Management Division of the ADEQ, if you notice smoke in the air, or to view prescribed burn authorizations, please visit: legacy.azdeq.gov/environ/air/smoke/index.html

Fire information for the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests can be found at:
• Twitter: www.twitter.com/A_SNFs
• Facebook: www.facebook.com/apachesitgreavesnfs
• Website: www.fs.usda.gov/main/asnf/fire

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Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests reopens to public entry

Fire restrictions to remain in place

Springerville, AZ, July 6th, 2021— The Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests has rescinded the full forest closure, effective at 8:00AM, July 7th. Stage II Fire Restrictions will remain in place.

A large portion of the Apache-Sitgreaves has recently received enough rain that, along with cooler temperatures, has reduced the risk of severe fire behavior. The forest closed June 24th, 2021 to reduce the risk to public safety due to extreme fire danger and historically dry conditions.

Drought conditions contribute to fire danger continuing to be very high. The public is reminded to remain vigilant while visiting the National Forest – abide by the restrictions and closures and refrain from any behavior that may accidentally start a wildfire. Stay informed of forest conditions before and during your visit.

Stage II Fire Restrictions
Under Stage II restrictions, fires (including charcoal and briquettes) are prohibited on all National Forest lands. Smoking is also prohibited forest-wide except within an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed recreation site, or while stopped in an area at least 3 feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of any flammable material.

Stoves or grills that are solely fueled by pressurized liquid petroleum or pressurized liquid petroleum gas (LPG) fuels are allowable. Generators with approved spark arresting devices are also permitted in areas that are barren or cleared of any flammable material at least 3 feet around the generator.

The following acts are prohibited from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.: Operating a generator, chainsaw or other equipment powered by an internal combustion engine; using an explosive; blasting, welding, or operating any acetylene or other torch with an open flame.

Stay up to date on Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests news by checking the A-S website and following @A_SNF on Facebook and Twitter.

Management of Wyrick and West Chev Fires transitions to Black Mesa Ranger District

Daily Update 6/29/2021

Start Date: Saturday, June 19, 2021
Acres: Wyrick: 7,592 acres
Cause: Lightning
Location: 2 miles north of Mogollon HS, Heber, AZ
Containment: 96%
Fuels: Pinyon-Juniper, Timber and grass
Total Personnel: 209

West Chev
Start Date: Saturday, June 19, 2021
Acres: 1,170 acres
Cause: Lightning
Location: 12.5 miles northwest of Heber, AZ
Containment: 85%
Fuels: Timber and grass

Announcement: This is the final Daily Update from Southwest Area Incident Management Team 5 (SWIMT 5) covering the Wyrick and West Chev fires. Management responsibility for the fires transitions back to the Black Mesa Ranger District at 6:00 PM tonight. SWIMT 5 wants to express our appreciation to the affected communities for their friendliness and overwhelming support throughout this effort.
For fire information after today, please call the Black Mesa Ranger Station at 928-535-7300 during normal business hours.

Overview: With containment on both fires at greater than 80 percent, management of the Wyrick and West Chev Fires transitions back to the local unit today. There is a 40 percent chance of rain on the fires today with more rain predicted over the next few days. Firefighters will monitor and patrol the fires today and reinforcement containment lines.

Fire Update:
Wyrick: Firefighters made good progress yesterday on the uncontained portions of the fire bringing overall containment up to 96 percent. This was a continuation of work done over the past few days with crews eliminating hotspots near containment lines. Light smoke could still be seen in internal areas. Infrared imagery from last night showed there are still areas of heat within the fire. So again today, firefighters will patrol and monitor the fire, looking for these areas of heat near the fire line. Efforts will be concentrated on the uncontained portions of the line in the northeast section of the fire.

West Chev: Yesterday, with an increase in relative humidity, the fire moved very slowly in Circle Bar draw. This is the only area where the fire is yet uncontained. As on the Wyrick fire, crews worked to extinguish hotspots and increase depth of containment lines. The fire will smolder today with only limited movement in Circle Bar Draw. Firefighters will again patrol the fire perimeter looking for hotspots which could threaten the line. In addition, they will be closely monitoring fire behavior in Circle Bar draw.

Weather: Moist air moved over the area yesterday and produced light rain showers. This afternoon, showers will develop over the Mogollon Rim and drift north over the fires. Chance of thundershowers today is 40 percent. Thunderstorms have the potential to cause gusty and erratic winds, which could blow ash into the air. Temperatures will be in the 70’s and 80’s with relative humidity percentages in the 30’s. This pattern will continue through the week.

Closures: A complete closure of the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests remains in effect. Additional details can be found at Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests – News & Events (usda.gov). Arizona State Trust Lands in all 15 counties are closed for recreational use. For current information on highways, please continue to watch Arizona Department of Transportation’s AZ511.gov website.

Smoke: Very little smoke is expected from the Wyrick and West Chev Fires today. There are several other fires burning in Arizona right now. Information on these fires and their expected impacts to air quality can be found on inciweb at: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov. General smoke and air quality information for the state can be found on the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality website at: https://azdeq.gov/WildfireForecast.

Values: Firefighter and public safety are the highest priorities on these fires. Additional values at risk include properties and infrastructure, as well as power and transmission lines, communication towers, campgrounds, critical range infrastructure, and cultural and natural resources.

More Information:
 West Chev: West Chev Information – InciWeb the Incident Information System (nwcg.gov)
 Wyrick: Wyrick Fire Information – InciWeb the Incident Information System (nwcg.gov)
Wyrick-West Chev Fire Information: (20+) Wyrick-West Chev Fire Information | Facebook
Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests: Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests – Home (usda.gov)
Highway Closures: https://az511.gov/
Navajo County Emergency Management: https://www.navajocountyaz.gov/Departments/Emergency-Management-and-Preparedness/Ready-Navajo-County-Notification-System/Ready-Navajo-County-Registration
Navajo County Emergency Management Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NavajoCountyEM/
Navajo County Sheriff’s Office: https://www.facebook.com/NCSO.AZ/posts/4060988313951038
Fire Restrictions in Arizona: WildlandFire.AZ.gov/fire-restrictions