South of Flagstaff News
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The South of Flagstaff News photo above is an aerial shot
of Sunset crater.
This page covers some of the long term issues impacting the
South of Flagstaff communities.
This South of Flagstaff News page is updated
occasionally, as new, long term issues arise.
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Local News Feed
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Street Naming and Standard Addressing
The recently passed
Street Naming and Standard Addressing
Ordinance is now a project.
Coconino County's Director of Geographic Information Systems Department
indicates that the standards project will start in areas that aren't yet
completely built-up, such as Parks and Kaibab Estates.
The Street Naming and Standard Addressing
project will probably reach Mountainaire and Kachina Village in about two years.
Forest Health Project
Recent snows and runoff had caused Southwest Forest Products to
suspend work on the Kachina Village
Forest Health Project.
Now that the forest floor has firmed-up, crews are again working
to thin forest growth south of Kachina Village.
They are currently working the forest/Kachina Village interface
south of Toho Trail.
Work on a fuel reduction project called the Kachina Village
Forest Health Project has begun near Forest Highlands and Kachina Village.
The planning, bidding, contract awarding, and other
administrative tasks have been in process for many months... and now we have
saws in the woods!
As you can see, it looks much better, too.
As has been well demonstrated in recent years, a forest fire can
start deep in the forest and quickly move to inhabited areas.
This project is only a start
in the effort to reduce the huge buildup in wildfire fuel, and was initiated
prior to the passage of more recent Federal legislation called the Healthy Forest Initiative.
Healthy Forest Restoration Act Becomes Law
Forest health and control of forest fires is
of primary importance to South of Flagstaff residents.
The Healthy Forest Restoration Act legislation establishes a national program to thin
and revitalize the nation's national forests.
The legislation was recently
passed by the Congress and signed into law by President Bush.
Forest management professionals have long urged adoption of a
comprehensive program to improve forest health.
December 3, 2003
President Bush Signs
Healthy Forests Restoration Act into Law
On December 3, 2003, President Bush signed into law the Healthy Forests
Restoration Act of 2003 to reduce the threat of destructive wildfires while
upholding environmental standards and encouraging early public input during
review and planning processes. The legislation is based on sound science and
helps further the President.s Healthy Forests Initiative pledge to care for
America.s forests and rangelands, reduce the risk of catastrophic fire to
communities, help save the lives of firefighters and citizens, and protect
threatened and endangered species.
The Healthy Forests Restoration Act:
Strengthens public participation in developing high priority forest
Reduces the complexity of environmental analysis allowing federal land
agencies to use the best science available to actively manage land under
Provides a more effective appeals process encouraging early public
participation in project planning; and
Issues clear guidance for court action against forest health projects.
The Administration and a bipartisan majority in Congress supported the
legislation and are joined by a variety of environmental conservation
The Need for Common-Sense Forest Legislation
Catastrophic fires, particularly those experienced in California, Arizona,
Colorado, Montana and Oregon over the past two years, burn hotter and faster
than most ordinary fires.
Visibility and air quality are reduced, threatening even the health of
many who do not live near the fires.
The habitat for endangered species and other wildlife is destroyed.
Federal forests and rangelands also face threats from the spread of
invasive species and insect attacks.
In the past two years alone, 147,049 fires burned nearly 11 million
2002: 88,458 fires burned roughly 7 million acres and caused
the deaths of 23 firefighters;
2003 (thus far): 59,149 fires have burned 3.8 million acres and
caused the deaths of 28 firefighters.
Nearly 6,800 structures have been destroyed in 2003 (approximately
4,800 in California).
The California fires alone cost $250 million to contain and 22
civilians have died as a result.
Here is the new legislation's executive
Forest : An Initiative for Wildfire Prevention and Stronger Communities
The American people, their property, and our environment, particularly the
forests and rangelands of the West, are threatened by catastrophic fires and
environmental degradation. Hundreds of millions of trees and invaluable habitat
are destroyed each year by these severe wildfires. These unnaturally extreme
fires are caused by a crisis of deteriorating forest and rangeland health, the
result of a century of well-intentioned but misguided land management. Renewed
efforts to restore our public lands to healthy conditions are needed.
This fire season is already one of the worst in modern
Already more than 5.9 million acres of public and private land have burned
this year, an area the size of New Hampshire and more than twice the average
annual acreage, with more than a month of fire season remaining. Fires have
burned 500,000 acres more than they had at this time during the
record-setting 2000 fire season.
Hundreds of communities have been affected by these wildfires. Tens of
thousands of people have been evacuated from their homes, and thousands of
structures have been destroyed. With more people living near forests and
rangelands, it is becoming increasingly difficult to protect people and
their homes. Land managers must do more to address the underlying causes of
Catastrophic fires are caused by deteriorating forest
and rangeland health.
America's public lands have undergone radical changes during the last century
due to the suppression of fires and a lack of active forest and rangeland
management. Frequent, low-intensity fires play an important role in healthy
forest and rangeland ecosystems, maintaining natural plant conditions and
reducing the buildup of fuels. Natural, low-intensity fires burn smaller trees
and undergrowth while leaving large trees generally intact. Natural fires also
maintain natural plant succession cycles, preventing the spread of invasive
plant species in forests and rangelands. This produces forests that are open and
resistant to disease, drought, and severe wildfires.
Today, the forests and rangelands of the West have become unnaturally dense,
and ecosystem health has suffered significantly. When coupled with seasonal
droughts, these unhealthy forests, overloaded with fuels, are vulnerable to
unnaturally severe wildfires. Currently, 190 million acres of public land are at
increased risk of catastrophic wildfires.
These deteriorated forest and rangeland conditions
significantly affect people, property, and ecosystem health.
Fuels have accumulated so significantly that fires no longer burn at
natural temperatures or rates, making them dangerous to fight and difficult
to control. Catastrophic wildfires grow extremely quickly, making them
difficult to control if they are not stopped immediately. For example, the
Rodeo fire in Arizona grew from 800 acres to 46,000 acres in just one day.
Nearly 83 percent of firefighters surveyed identified the need for fuels
reduction as the top priority for improving their safety.
Catastrophic wildfires burn at much higher temperatures than normal fires,
causing long-lasting and severe environmental damage. A large, catastrophic
fire can release the energy equivalent of an atomic bomb. Rather than
renewing forests, these fires destroy them. While most natural fires burn at
ground level and at relatively low temperatures, these catastrophic fires
burn at extreme temperatures, destroying entire forests and sterilizing
soils. These extreme fires can even kill giant sequoia trees that have
survived centuries of natural fires. It can take as long as a century for
forests to recover from such severe fires.
Enhanced measures are needed to restore forest and
rangeland health to reduce the risk of these catastrophic wildfires.
Federal, state, tribal and local governments are making unprecedented efforts
to reduce the buildup of fuels and restore forests and rangelands to healthy
conditions. Yet, needless red tape and lawsuits delay effective implementation
of forest health projects. This year's crisis compels more timely decisions,
greater efficiency, and better results to reduce catastrophic wildfire threats
to communities and the environment.
The Healthy Forests Initiative will implement core components of the National
Fire Plan's 10-year Comprehensive Strategy and Implementation Plan. This
historic plan, which was adopted this spring by federal agencies and western
governors, in collaboration with county commissioners, state foresters, and
tribal officials, calls for more active forest and rangeland management. It
establishes a framework for protecting communities and the environment through
local collaboration on thinning, planned burns and forest restoration projects.
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Congressman Renzi Is Involved
The 2000 and 2002 fire seasons were among the worst fire seasons in 50 years
in the State of Arizona. While the threat of severe wildfire is continuing to
grow, the funding for measures to treat threatened areas has not increased.
As a member of the House Resources Subcommittee on Forests and Forest Health,
I will work to ensure that we head into a fire season with secure funding and
common-sense policies on the management of our forests. In support of this
effort, I have co-sponsored legislation (H.R. 67) that would provide temporary
legal exemptions for certain land management activities of Federal land
management agencies undertaken in federally declared disaster areas, thus
enabling Forestry officials to implement fire prevention measures without being
hampered by frivolous litigation.
I will support the implementation of the President�s Healthy Forest
Initiative, aimed at streamlining the regulatory burdens that have prevented
hazardous fuels reduction projects in high risk areas. In addition, I will
introduce legislation to ensure that areas affected by bark beetle infestation
are provided with the ability to treat and thin to avoid a devastating fire
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