Copper Canyon Fire suspends burn season
Copper Canyon Fire has temporarily suspended its burn season due to conditions Fire Marshal Ken Krebbs called unfavorable.
According to a conditions outlook Copper Canyon Fire emailed Tuesday to the Verde Independent, the Verde Valley is “currently experiencing a significant deficit compared to average rain.”
Taking measurements since April for 2019, the Verde Valley has received 56% of the area’s normal rainfall, according to the outlook.
The report considers precipitation, temperature, drought, live fuel and dead fuel moisture, energy release component, fire activity and fire potential outlook.
According to the report, July 2019 produced half of the historic average rain for its month. Although May 2019 saw one-half inch more than the average May, April 2019 saw .61 inches of rain less than average. July 2019 saw 1.06 inches less than the average July.
The Verde Valley saw no measurable rain in June, the report stated.
Favorable conditions needed for safe, permissible burns
Burn season will resume when “we have favorable conditions for safe permissible burns,” Krebbs said.
“It depends on how much rain we get or how quickly we cool down,” Krebbs said. “It depends on the moisture content, heat and winds when we determine that it’s safe.”
The outlook also stated that there have been 23 fires this year in the Prescott National Forest, 14 caused by humans, the other nine by lightning. This does not include 96 abandoned or illegal camp fires.
As of July 31, Prescott National Forest fires have consumed 12,125 acres.
When burn season is resumed, burn permit holders will need to be sure to have a valid permit from Copper Canyon’s administration office on Salt Mine Road, the Main Street fire station in Camp Verde, or from the Montezuma Rimrock Fire Station on Beaver Creek Road, Krebbs said.
Permits will need to be activated through the Cottonwood Public Safety Communications Center at 928-649-1397 prior to burning to ensure that the weather and wind conditions are proper and safe for the day,” Krebbs also said.
The Copper Canyon Fire’s normal fall burn season runs from Aug. 1 through Nov. 30.
No fire ban at Cottonwood Fire
Although Cottonwood Fire and Medical tries to work in conjunction with Copper Canyon, Fire Chief Mike Kuykendall said Wednesday that his department is not observing a fire ban at this time.
“Copper Canyon Fire has a lot of area that’s open land. We have a different situation,” Kuykendall said. “What we’re doing, we’re taking it day by day. We’re not suspending it at this time. I don’t want to go in and out of burn season.”
-- Follow Bill Helm on Twitter @BillHelm42
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