Clearing the air? Coconino National Forest modifying fire plans
VERDE VALLEY — Plans for two major prescribed burns have been put on hold temporarily.
Coconino National Forest announced in a Monday news release that its fire managers were modifying prescribed fire plans this week “in order to clear the airshed and also take advantage of a specific wind forecast to keep smoke away from large powerlines during an important prescribed fire project.”
With both prescribed burns and wildfires active in Northern Arizona, smoke has been inundating the Verde Valley for weeks. That has drawn increasing complaints from residents, especially those with respiratory issues.
The wind forecast for today and Tuesday, however, altered plans to add even more to the levels of smoke. Strong winds are expected to blow from the southeast to the northwest, possible pushing much of the smoke out of the Verde Valley, at least momentarily.
Today, Coconino had planned to ignite a 3,000-acre burn in what it is calling the Upper Beaver Creek Project. The area is northwest of Clints Well not far from the current Maid Fire. The proposed burn would have continued through Thursday.
Also meant to start this week was the Bar-M project, a 1,743-acre burn south of Mormon Lake. It was meant to run Tuesday through Thursday.
“Those two projects have been planned for a later time when conditions are more appropriate,” Coconino NF stated.
A modified version of the Sawmill Project on 1,000 acres southeast of Stoneman Lake is currently planned to ignite Wednesday, Nov. 8, around 10 a.m. It is expected to burn for a day.