Prescribed burns will be conducted by the Flagstaff Fire Department on City-owned parcels within City limits this fall. While exact dates of the prescribed burns are weather-specific and cannot be established far in advance, these prescribed burns are generally anticipated to take place from mid-September to mid-November. More information on locations and dates will be shared on flagstaff.az.gov as dates become available.
Residents and visitors can expect smoke to be present in the area of prescribed burns. Fire managers will coordinate with neighboring national forests, national parks, fire districts, and the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality to monitor smoke impacts.
Fire and smoke are essential elements to comprehensive land management in and around Flagstaff. The ponderosa pine and mixed conifer forests of northern Arizona have existed for thousands of years and have evolved to benefit from frequent fires ignited by both seasonal lightning patterns and cultural burning practices.
The focus of the Flagstaff Fire Department’s prescribed fire program includes both the safety of firefighters and communities and public education about the natural role of fire in healthy forests. It is important to note that southwestern soils do not receive nutrients from decomposition as wetter areas of the country do. Frequent low-intensity fire returns nutrients to the soil, a process vital to native vegetation growth, and brings grasses and plants that promote wildlife habitat, reduce erosion, and protect watersheds. Low-intensity fire also reduces the threat of catastrophic fire by reducing the accumulated dead fuels that would otherwise contribute to more extreme fire behavior.
Prescribed fire takes a significant amount of planning and many different factors must come together for it to be done safely and successfully. The City of Flagstaff utilizes experienced firefighting professionals from local, state and federal fire programs to successfully plan and implement prescribed burns.
For more information on the benefits of prescribed burns, please visit Prescribed Fires | Smokey Bear. For any related questions, please contact Mark Adams, City of Flagstaff Wildland Community Risk Reduction Specialist, at 928-213-2510 or Mark.Adams@flagstaffaz.gov.