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 Ordinance

March 30, 2004

The recently passed Street Naming and Standard Addressing Ordinance is now a project.

Dharmesh Jain, 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.

Kachina Village Forest Health Project 

March 30, 2004

Recent snows and runoff had caused Southwest Forest Products tosouth of flagstaff news 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.


January 15, 2004

Work on a fuel reduction project called the Kachina Village Forest Health Project has begun near Forest Highlands and Kachina Village.south of flagstaff news

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

January 15, 2004

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 health projects;
    • Reduces the complexity of environmental analysis allowing federal land agencies to use the best science available to actively manage land under their protection;
    • 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 groups.

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 acres
    • 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 summary.


Executive Summary

Healthy 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 history.

  • 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 these fires.

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.

[  Table of Contents  |  Next Chapter  ]



Congressman Renzi Is Involved

Prior to passage of the Healthy Forest Initiativesouth of flagstaff news Congressman Renzi published a statement on the issue of Forest Management. It is reproduced here for your convenience:

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 season.


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