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Coconino NF using three lightning-caused fires to benefit landscape (May 24, 2016)

Release Date: May 24, 2016

Contact(s): Coconino National Forest Supervisor’s Office 928-527-3600, Media Contact: Adam Solt 928-527-3490, Media Contact: George Jozens 928-527-3412

Flagstaff, Arizona — Fire managers with the Coconino National Forest are utilizing three lightning-caused fires to benefit the landscape and maintain a healthy ecosystem by allowing natural fire to fulfill its natural role in the environment.

Three fires are being managed on the Coconino National Forest, the Mormon, Cowboy and Pivot Rock Fire, all lightning caused fires, are multiple objective fire. All three fires are growing in size, Cowboy is the largest at approximately 1,000 acres, Pivot Rock is 575 acres, and Mormon is 350 acres.

The most noticeable fire to the public is the Cowboy Fire, it is next to I-17, near the northbound Kelly Canyon Road exit. Fire operations will cause this area to increase the smoke thickness today until Thursday, especially during darkness and cooling temperatures.  Even though the smoke increases this week, motorist and travelers should see relief Friday as the Forest Service will monitor and hold the fires in place to the greatest extent possible over the Memorial Day weekend.

Arizona Department of Transportation, the Forest Service and other area public works have placed signs and in a cooperative effort are reminding motorist to slow down and drive safely.  The smoke near I-17 may settle in the Interstate corridor over nights, so motorist will need to obey ADOT instructions and personnel monitoring road conditions. Motorist are reminded to use caution and leave plenty of time to travel in these smoky areas.

The forest thrives on fires such as these that are lower severity and creep across the forest floor, reducing fuels, the risk of severe wildfire, creating safer conditions for residents and visitors, and restoring wildlife habitat by promoting future healthy vegetation.

These multiple objective fires will continue to increase in size, and firefighters will be conducting burnout operations to manage where and how the fires move through the landscape. Smoke has been noticeable. Fire managers will…

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