Prescott National responded to several lightning-caused wildfires over the weekend.
The majority were a single tree, less than 1/10 of an acre and extinguished by the rain. The largest reported is the Stubbs Fire in Camp Wood. As monsoon activity increases, lightning strikes will become more common keeping fire resources busy.
Location: 30 miles northwest of Prescott, AZ on the Chino Valley Ranger District (T16N, R7W, S11)
Start Date: July 9th
Size: Approximately 1 acre
Percent Contained: 0
Vegetation: Ponderosa Pine
Resource Commitment: 1 Type III helicopter; 2 Type II IA crews
Summary: The Stubbs Fire was discovered as a large dead-standing Ponderosa Pine tree, struck by lightning on Sunday July 9th. The area has received over .75 inches of rain since Friday and the observed fire behavior was low intensity last night and today. There is one ranch on private land adjacent to the fire, but no significant threat exists to the property. Firefighters are on scene working to minimize fire behavior and assess control features at this time. The weather forecast for the remainder of the week indicates a high likelihood of monsoon rains.
The location of the Stubbs Fire and the time of year are ideal to see desired and beneficial results in restoring the ecosystem in the area. Unlike fires during our hottest and driest periods and immediately adjacent to communities, the Stubbs Fire is remote and resulted from a lightning strike at a time when intermittent rains are likely to continue. With the onset of the Monsoon rains, higher relative humidity during the days and nights will aid in minimizing fire behavior. Lightning fires have occurred on this landscape for hundreds of thousands of years and burned freely under similar conditions. Fire Managers and Forest Leadership are exploring the opportunity and merits of utilizing this naturally ignited fire to improve the health of the forest and reduce the hazardous load of fuel that has accumulated over the years.
While the Prescott National Forest is still under Stage 2 Fire Restrictions and has an area closure in place, the conditions are quickly changing for the better. The conditions exhibited on the Stubbs Fire and the pending weather forecast to include regular periods of rain, allows Fire Managers to respond to the Stubbs Fire less aggressively and facilitate ecological benefits from this naturally ignited wildfire. This can be done successfully while the Forest monitors conditions and plans for the removal of the area closure and lifting all fire restrictions in the very near future.
The public can obtain additional information via the following:
· Twitter: @PrescottNF
· Local Ranger Stations: Bradshaw Ranger District, (928) 443-8000; Chino Valley Ranger District (928) 777-2200; Verde Ranger District (928) 567-4121
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