Arizona Department of Forestry has doubled acres treated with prescribed fires

Most of the controlled burns are in Coconino County and require months to years of planning as well as countless hours of work on the ground.
Published: Oct. 2, 2023 at 7:07 PM MST
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FLAGSTAFF, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - The Department of Forestry and Fire Management has doubled the number of acres treated by prescribed fire so far this year, and more is expected as we head into fall.

Each year, DFFM burns 3,500 to 7,500 acres. Public affairs officer Tiffany Davila said they’ve already surpassed those numbers this year. “In 2022, we did about 8000 acres for the whole year. So accomplishing 9300 acres in just six months is a huge benefit to not only the agency, it’s an accomplishment for us, but it really benefits the state as a whole.”

Davila said wet weather early this year and last played a huge role in the number of acres they could treat. “We don’t just get up and say we’re going to burn today. We have to wait on those conducive weather conditions,” Davila said. “It has to be safe for our crews. It has to be safe for the public, and at the end of the day, it has to work so that this project is successfully complete.”

Each prescribed fire requires months to years of planning and countless hours of work on the ground. Davila said these fires are successful in more ways than one.

“It improves our forests, it improves the wildlife habitat and grazing lands that the ranchers use for their cattle, and then it protects our watershed,” she said. “Our prescribed fire projects, we’re strategically putting fire on the ground so that we can reduce the risk of wildfires in, in and around our communities.”

Fall is another major burning season, so the Department of Forestry plans to treat even more forest land with fire in the near future.

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