4,500-acre prescribed burn scheduled for forest area near Flagstaff

Burnt trees in Coconino National Forest
Burnt trees in Coconino National Forest

A 4,500-acre prescribed burn, named the Crater Sinks Project, is set to begin Wednesday to improve forest health in an area southwest of Flagstaff, in the Coconino National Forest, state forestry officials announced.

A prescribed burn, which is intentionally set, monitored and controlled by firefighters, is scheduled to continue until Friday. The goal is to reduce forest fuels, such as brush and grasses, to lower the risk of massive destructive wildfires.

The project area, composed of federal and state lands, was in planning stages for more than four years and will help mitigate wildfire risks close to northern Arizona communities. A helicopter will be used to monitor the burn from the air.

Such burns are always dependent on weather conditions as well as approval from the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality. Residents who see smoke in the area are advised not to call 911 or dispatchers.

Smoke from the burn is expected to flow toward the north/northeast and should travel up and over Flagstaff as winds are forecast from the south/southwest at about 13 mph. The smoke will likely impact areas of Oak Creek Canyon overnight as temperatures cool and settle, and it also may impact Flagstaff. Affected communities can learn more at airnow.gov.

The burn is part of the Wildfire Crisis Strategy recently announced by the U.S. Forest Service where national forests nationwide are working closely with partner agencies to restore healthy, resilient landscapes. More information about prescribed burns can be found at:

This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: 4,500-acre prescribed burn scheduled for forest area near Flagstaff