Coconino National Forest
U.S. Forest Service
1824 S. Thompson St.
Flagstaff, AZ 86001
George Jozens or Brady Smith
Flagstaff, Arizona — Smoke from a prescribed burn project north of Munds Park today, which produced a large plume visible from Sedona, will likely impact surrounding communities during morning hours tomorrow until wind patterns shift southwesterly.
The Coyote Project burned approximately 650 acres today and southwesterly winds dispersed the smoke toward the north and east throughout the day.
However, winds are forecast to change direction and come from the north this evening. This will cause residual smoke impacts to communities south and west of the project, such as Munds Park, Sedona, the Village of Oak Creek, and Verde Valley. Impacts will be heaviest in the early morning hours before daytime heating occurs, which will then cause the smoke to rise and disperse. Impacts from residual smoke should be expected over the course of the next few days, even though the initial burn has been completed.
Smoke will likely impact areas along Interstate 17 near Munds Park and the near the burn itself. Arizona Department of Transportation will be on scene and monitoring smoke impacts to ensure public safety on the roadway.
The Coyote Project is one of several recent prescribed burns located in a Mexican Spotted Owl Protected Activity Center (PAC). The Forest Service has partnered with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to produce a schedule to study the owls in these PACs, while simultaneously studying owls in different PACs not being treated with prescribed fire. Introducing fire into these areas is also important to help restore the ecological integrity of the area and reduce the risk of severe wildfire in the future.
Given the complexity of introducing fire in PAC areas while at the same time trying to preserve vital habitat, burning has been be slower and more methodical.
Notifications of upcoming prescribed burns are provided regularly by news releases throughout the season and also by the following online resources: